Do dry eyes get worse in winter?

As the humidity drops, it’s not just chapped lips, extra clothing and flu we have to worry about. Dry eyes can be at their worst during the winter as drier air conditions outside and raised temperatures indoors can cause us to dehydrate.


What causes itchy eyes in winter?


The causes of dry eye often go hand in hand with winter. Your eyes, unlike other parts of the body, are exposed to the cold air. The lack of moisture makes the surface of the eye drier causing red, itchy or sore eyes.


Central heating can also irritate the eyes as we turn the temperature up on our radiators to beat the winter chill.


What are the symptoms of dry eye?


The term ‘dry eye’ can be a little misleading at times. Some people may experience watery eyes as additional tears can be produced to alleviate the dryness.


Other symptoms include:

  • Itchiness

  • Red, sore watering eyes

  • Scratchy feeling as though there is something in the eye

  • Blurred vision

  • Sensitivity to light.

How can I help soothe my dry eyes this winter?

  • Try not to rub your eyes as this can cause inflammation and further discomfort

  • Use a warm compress to help to soothe your eyes

  • Keep hydrated - even in the colder months

  • Try using over the counter eye drops (artificial tears)

  • Use a humidifier around the home to add some moisture back into the air

  • If you wear contact lenses and your dry eye is causing you a lot of discomfort, it may be wise to remove them and wear glasses (if you have them) until symptoms start to subside

  • Blinking and closing the eyes will help keep your eyes lubricated.


Winter eye care tips


We’ve published an article on how winter can affect your eyes with several ideas on how to protect your eyes this winter.


If you’re hitting the slopes this winter, snow blindness can be a real concern. Learn what snow blindness is and how you can prevent it.


Driving in low winter sun can be a hazard. We’ve shared some tips on how to keep safe on the roads this winter.


Should you worry about dry eyes?


If severe dry eye remains untreated it can sometimes damage the cornea of your eye.


If your symptoms don’t subside or seem particularly severe, you should visit your doctor as further treatment may be required.


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Always consult a qualified optometrist to confirm a diagnosis!

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