Even at our Michael’s® headquarters in balmy San Antonio, Texas, the weather has been a little more frigid this winter. As the temperatures drop, we can expect an increase in cold weather-related health complaints—including dry or itchy eyes.
In most places, humidity is lower when the colder winter weather hits. To escape the cold, we turn up the heaters in our homes and offices. While this is great for winter comfort, the combination of lower temperatures with lower moisture in the air can take a toll on our precious eyes, drying them out quickly.
To prevent this from happening and protect our eyes from winter woes, here are some quick and easy tips to try:
Drink Plenty of Water
We’re always told to stay hydrated during the hot summer months, but you don’t hear about it as much during winter days.
The truth is, staying hydrated is important at any time of year. Getting enough fluids helps us maintain moisture throughout our whole body, including the eyes! So don’t forget to drink plenty of water each day this winter.
Get a Humidifier
Humidifiers gently emit water vapor to increase the amount of humidity in the air. They’re great for reducing dryness in cold weather to alleviate allergies, chapped lips, dry skin, and dry, irritated eyes. Try adding one to your home or bedroom when you’re there most, such as at night while you sleep.
Just keep in mind that if you do purchase a humidifier, it needs to be cleaned regularly; otherwise, it can promote mold or bacteria growth and do more harm than good. As always, be sure to use distilled water.
Blow Heat Away from Your Face
It might be tempting to revel in the warmth of your car or home heater, letting it blow the air directly into your face. But this can actually dry up any moisture in your eyes, causing more eye irritation!
Enjoy that heater, but keep it pointed away from your face or on other parts of your body to reduce the chance of making dry eyes and eye irritation worse.
Wear a Hat and Sunglasses
Winter wind and weather blowing into your eyes isn’t doing you any favors. Consider wearing a hat with a brim to protect your eyes from unruly conditions.
Sunglasses during the day are very helpful, too … and bonus: they’ll also protect your eyes from the winter sun!
Take Phone and Computer Breaks
Staring at a computer or phone screen causes us to blink less than we would normally, increasing the chances of dry eyes. According to the The Vision Council, 22.7% of Americans have reported dry eyes from digital eye strain.
We know it’s impossible for most of us to get away from our digital screens completely, especially if we work on the computer for a living. But taking regular time away can help a lot. Try to take quick breaks every 20 minutes to look at something away from your screen and reduce eye strain and dryness.
Get Your Omega-3s
Some research shows higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids, both dietarily and topically, can help in the treatment of dry eye. The effects might not be as immediate as other remedies, but you can’t go wrong with omega-3s, as they are supportive in many other health aspects, too!
Use Natural Eye Drops
Over-the-counter eye drops can help replenish moisture lost from your eyes during cold weather months. Keep a bottle nearby to use throughout the day. If you wear contacts, be sure to remove and rinse them with solution regularly to prevent dry, sticking lenses.
The Bottom Line
In most cases, common dry eye problems resolve once the temperatures even out. But until then, try the approaches above to reduce eye dryness and irritation while you power through the joys of winter this year.