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Getting Your Dry Eye Under Wraps This Winter

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Tips to Make Your Life a Little More Comfortable

Dry eye symptoms tend to flare up in the fall, winter, and summer months. There are a lot of reasons for this, though the considerable supply of reasons does little to assuage the symptoms that dry eye sufferers experience.

As you can imagine, we see hundreds of people every year for their dry eye. Whether it’s temporary or chronic, dry eye is uncomfortable (at best) and sometimes debilitating (at worst). We know first-hand the personal and professional impacts that hard-to-manage dry eye can have on your life.

If your symptoms are starting to flare up, try some of the tips below. These “at home” tricks can reduce or even eliminate persistent dry eye symptoms. Failing that, we are always here to provide doctor-assisted dry eye therapy.

Controlling Your Personal & Productive Environments

While you can’t control all things in life, one area where you can make a substantial difference in the frequency and severity of your dry eye symptoms is by controlling your personal environment.

Increase Ambient Humidity

Ontario is blessed with a fairly humid climate as it is, though ambient humidity drops significantly in the winter months. Unfortunately, this drop in humidity can promote your symptoms to flare up.

Try:

  • Installing a central humidifier in your home
  • Using portable humidifiers in the rooms you spend the most time in (ie- bedroom and home office)

Aim for an average indoor humidity level of 55%. You can try higher if it benefits your symptoms, though you may find condensation forming on your windows on cold days/nights.

Breathe Clean Air

Clean air benefits more than your lungs. Your eyes benefit immensely from high air quality. Things like dust, smoke, and smog can kick your symptoms up a notch.

Try:

  • Avoiding areas with poor air quality (construction sites, dusty rooms, etc.)
  • Installing a home-filtration system
  • Using portable air cleaners in your bedroom/office

Other Methods to Influence Dry Eye

  • When outdoors, wear glasses/sunglasses. The glasses will act as a physical barrier, protecting your eyes from gusts of wind, dirt, allergens, and other airborne particulates that may find their way into your eyes.
  • Stop smoking. In addition to the numerous other impacts smoking has on your health, it is known to be a negative influence on dry eye.
  • Stay hydrated. Given that dry eye is due to a lack of proper eye lubrication, staying well-hydrated ensures that your body has the raw materials it needs to produce tears.
  • Give your eyes a warm compress once or twice per day. A soft cloth with warm water (not hot, warm) applied to the eye for 10 minutes at a time is a great way to unblock your meibomian glands (which are responsible for producing eye lubrication). Meibomian gland disease (MGD) is thought to be responsible for upwards of 80% of dry eye cases.
Dr Moore

Written by Shawn Moore

Dr. Moore began his career in Barrie, moved to Orillia, and purchased what is now Orillia Optometry in 2001. Dr. Moore thoroughly enjoys primary care optometry, but his areas of interest are vision therapy, concussion management, contact lenses / multifocal contact lenses, and dry eye.

More Articles By Shawn Moore
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