When the winter months arrive, you may notice that your eyes become dry and irritated. This phenomenon is caused by the dry heat inside your home and the freezing winds and plunging temperatures outside. This contrast creates a perfect storm for your eyes, leaving them dehydrated, itchy and stinging.
Left unresolved, dry eyes can cause more serious problems in the long term and a visit to the optometrist will be required to put things right.
So, how do you keep your eyes hydrated, healthy, and sparkling throughout the winter? Here's some helpful advice.
Use humidifiers in your home
In order for your eyes to remain hydrated, the humidity in your home needs to be in the 30 to 55 percent range. Placing a humidifier in each room you use can offset the dry air caused by constantly running central heating.
Hydrate your body and eyes through eating and drinking properly
Make sure that you eat lots of fluid-rich fruit and veggies and keep up your fluid intake. This will help to counteract dehydration and keep your eyes moist. Oily fish helps to lubricate the tear producing glands in your eyes so be sure to include plenty in your diet.
It's a good idea to cut down on your intake of drinks that contain diuretic constituents as these can really dehydrate your eyes. Try substituting coffee and tea for caffeine-free alternatives.
Hydrate your eyes with artificial tears
You can help to combat dry eyes by using eye drops several times each day. You can obtain artificial tears from a pharmacy, from your doctor, or even from your optometrist.
Avoid having the car heater blowing directly into your face
Although it may be tempting to unfreeze your nose and face with a blast of hot air from your car's heater after a bracing walk in the snow, this habit could really dehydrate your eyes.
Instead, direct the heater onto your feet and use the window vents too.
Wear eye protection when working or playing outside
If you work outdoors or enjoy winter sports, always protect your eyes from the drying effects of the wind by wearing suitable eye protection in the form of goggles or a ski mask.
Follow the advice given above to combat dry eyes this winter. If your eyes are extremely itchy, red, and sore, it's sensible to consult an optometrist for further advice and appropriate treatment.