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If you suffer from dry eye disease, you’re not alone. More than 16 million Americans also do. And while you can get that dry, scratchy feeling at any time of year, the drier, cooler air of winter can make matters even worse.

Although fairly common and often connected to aging, dry eyes isn’t simply a condition that causes annoying symptoms. It can actually interfere with your ability to see clearly. In this blog, the highly skilled providers at the Tayani Institute explain some simple steps you can take to get relief and see well.

Dry eyes and winter

So what’s the connection between dry eyes and winter? It all comes down to eye lubrication and drier air. In order for your eyes to work optimally, they need proper lubrication, so they can stay nourished and their surfaces can stay smooth and clear. Tears also help wash away foreign objects, which can reduce the risk of developing eye infections.

While anyone can experience dry eye symptoms at any time of year, winter months can be particularly problematic, since the air outside tends to be lower in humidity. To further exacerbate matters, many people fire up the furnace to compensate for the colder temperatures. While this makes it toastier inside, it can also make the air drier. This can set up the perfect storm of dry air inside and outside.

Treating dry eyes

If your eyes are drier during the winter or at any time of the year, try doing the following things to give your eyes relief:

Use artificial tears

The first thing you need to do is add moisture to your eyes, and the quickest way to do this is use eye drops, commonly called artificial tears. There are many over-the-counter brands to choose from. The premise behind all of them is the same: to mimic natural tears.

This becomes especially important as you age, since as you get older, the ability to produce quality tears typically wanes. If your condition is particularly severe, and over-the-counter artificial tears don’t work, your provider may prescribe prescription eye drops.

Use warm compresses and massage your eyes

Another way to address dry eyes is to show your eyelids a little TLC. First, take a clean washcloth and gently wash and rinse your eyelids. Then, sit back and close your eyes and apply a warm compress on your eyelids for several minutes.

Warm compresses, coupled with gentle eye massages, may help release oils in your eyelids’ glands, which, in turn, may help enhance the quality of your tears. A nice side benefit is that it also feels great.

Drink plenty of water and take eye breaks

Proper hydration provides many health benefits for your body, so drink plenty of water and don’t forget to rest your eyes throughout the day by taking short breaks. Eye breaks are particularly important when you consider that Americans spend more than seven hours a day on average looking at computer screens, smart phones, and televisions.

To help you take breaks, use the 20-20-20 rule. It works like this: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Then resume what you were doing. Although it may seem like a small thing, short eye breaks can make a huge difference.

If you suffer from dry eyes, we can help. Our highly skilled providers will examine your eyes and create a treatment plan to help you feel better and see clearer. To learn more, call 949-489-2218 or book an appointment online with the Tayani Institute today.