Winter winds and temperatures can be harsh on the human body. Your ears endure a stinging tingle as the chilling air whistles through your exterior. Your fingers will begin to feel uncomfortably numb as you reluctantly trudge from the desolate parking lot to the inviting shelter of your office. Sometimes the prospect of venturing out into the cold can be so daunting that you’ll occasionally skip your daily coffee jaunt in favor of sullenly sulking under a blanket fort near the space heater in a desperate attempt to stay reasonably warm.

    But many of us are so concerned about protecting our ears and fingers from frostbite that we forget our eyes are completely exposed to the sub-zero elements of a cruel mother nature. Man, winter is just the worst.

    Dry Eyes in the Winter

    All kidding aside, the icy, windy outdoor conditions combined with furious heat radiating indoors can leave your eyes susceptible to dryness and irritation. Exposure to either of these extreme environments can cause moisture in the eyes to evaporate rapidly, and your tear ducts will have a difficult time trying to keep up. Therefore, the natural, fluid layer which normally protects your eyes from foreign particles will have thinned, and your eyes will become dehydrated and itchy.

    It may be hard to avoid dryness in the eyes entirely, but there are plenty of proactive measures you can take to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable this winter:

    • Use protective eyewear. If winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, or an alpine biathlon are on your agenda this seasons, be sure to wear protective goggles to reduce the risk of injury to your eyes.
    • Turn on the humidifier. During the winter, the humidity level inside your home can quickly fall below the 30 to 55 percent range that is recommended for proper eye lubrication. A simple solution to this problem would be to invest in a humidifier.
    • Add omega-3 to your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can help stimulate tear production. Fish oil supplements are an easy and effective way to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.
    • Use eye drops or saline solution as instructed by your optometrist.
    • Stay hydrated. Even though you may not be sweating through the frigid temperatures, your body still loses water constantly. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Soup can help you stay hydrated to a degree, and will even warm you up as an added bonus.
    • Don’t blast the heat. When you first get into your car in the morning, you might be tempted to crank the heat “up to eleven.” A constant flow of warm air pointed at your face can dry your eyes in just a few seconds. Instead, consider turning your seat warmer on, or pointing the air toward your feet.

    Has the winter weather been harsh on your eyes? Are they irritated and red? Contact Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 or request your appointment online. We can serve you at our convenient location in Independence/Kansas City.

    Posted November 26, 2015 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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