If enduring dry eyes during cold weather is a normal part of your winter routine, this winter and every one hereafter can be different with these tips. When eyes become dry, itchy, stingy and red and your vision becomes blurry due to the temperatures dropping, the major causes are external, and that can be fixed in a blink of an eye.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The cold, dry air causes tear ducts to become inflamed and swollen, impinging on the flow of tears that keep the eyes lubricated. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the tear ducts (and anywhere else in the body) and allow the moistening tears to flow normally and prevent dry eyes. Add fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids to your daily diet (salmon and tuna are good choices) or begin taking a fish oil supplement twice a day (1,000 mg twice daily) to combat dry eyes.
Moisturize the Air
Dry air equals dry eyes and heated, indoor air is dry as well as the cold outdoor air. Can’t do much with the outdoor air, but you can moisturize the indoor air by using a humidifier.
Place a small humidifier in the room that you spend most of your waking hours in to add moisture to the air and in turn help combat dry eyes. An even easier way to add moisture to air inside you home is to leave the bathroom exhaust fan off when bathing and place a pan of water on the radiator, wood stove or fireplace heart.
Heat Your Feet
Turn car heating vents and home heaters towards your feet, not your face. When warm air is blown forcefully towards your face, it will cause the moisture on your eye’s surface to evaporate and leave behind burning, itchy, red eyes. Heat your feet and your toes and eyes will thanks you for it.
Lower Computer Screen
Working in front of a computer screen (like us writers do) messes up our natural blinking rhythm. Under normal circumstances we average 15 blinks per minute, while stationed in front of the computer screen those blinks go down to 4-5 per minute and our eyes get less moisture, leaving us with dry eyes at the ends of the work day. The little trick of lowering the computer screen (or raising the chair) so we look down at the screen with our eyes are not fully open helps to combat dry eyes year ’round.
Cold weather hampers our body’s thirst mechanism, so we drink less and often wind up mildly dehydrated. Combine mild dehydration with dry air and our eyes will pay the price. Combat dry eyes (and the cold) by staying hydrated with broth-based soups and hot tea.