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How To Beat Dry Eyes This Winter

Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

Our eyes have a lot to contend with during the winter months. Cold, gusty air and indoor heating can reduce the natural moisture in our eyes, causing them to dry out quickly.

But with a few simple tips and small lifestyle tweaks, you can put your dry eyes at ease this winter. 

What is dry eye syndrome?

Our eyes need tears to stay healthy. They help to keep the surface of the eye wet, wash away dirt and reduce the risk of infection. When there’s an imbalance in the tears, or a decrease in tear production, the eyes become dry and sore — a common condition known as dry eye syndrome. 

The effects are usually felt in both eyes and can include:

  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Sticky discharge from the eye 
  • Dry, gritty eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness in the eye
  • Watery eyes
  • Heavy, tired eyes 


Who is affected by dry eye?

Anyone can experience dry eye, although it’s more common in females and people over 50. You're more likely to be affected if you wear contact lenses, spend long periods of time in front of screen, or have certain conditions like lupus, blepharitis or Sjögren syndrome. 

How do you treat dry eye?

The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to help minimise dry eyes and keep your eyes healthy this winter.

  • Artificial tear drops are usually the first line of defence for alleviating mild to moderate dry eyes. 
  • Applying a warm compress to closed eyelids for a few minutes a day can help to clear blocked oil glands. 
  • Drink plenty of water — aim for 8-10 glasses a day. 
  • Limit screen time — when you’re using digital devices, take regular breaks and try to blink fully and often (blinking spreads that all-important tear film across the surface of your eye).
  • Avoid sitting too close to heat sources, like fires or fan heaters, and use a humidifier at home to help slow down the evaporation of your tears. 
  • Get enough sleep — 7 to 8 hours gives our eyes the chance to rest and replenish.
  • Avoid dusty, windy and smoky environments, and if you’re outside a lot, try wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes from the elements. 
  • Switch to specs — if your contacts are causing further irritation, give your eyes a break for a few days. 

Making a few simple changes to your lifestyle can help combat dry eyes and keep your eyes comfortable. But if you’re still feeling discomfort, speak to your optician and they’ll help you find a solution. Depending on the type of dry eye you have, your Optometrist may suggest supplements, stronger eye drops or switching to a more hydrating contact lens.