Why Is Dry Eye Worse in the Winter

Posted on Saturday, December 23rd, 2023 by Dr. Binoy Jani

Dry Eye in Culpeper

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition that affects millions of Americans. While everyone gets itchy, irritated eyes occasionally, those with dry eye syndrome consistently need relief. To make matters worse, many notice their symptoms exacerbate in the winter months. Below, the eye doctors at Vista Eye Specialists in Fredericksburg and Culpeper, VA discuss why you may be more likely to notice dry eye in winter — and what you can do about it.

Factors that Aggravate Dry Eye in December/January/February

In the winter, the humidity drops significantly, which causes the teardrops that hydrate your eyes to evaporate more quickly than normal. Winds become more significant in the winter as well. When crisp wind blows in your face, this further dries out your eyes. Cold weather has also been found to slow your rate of blinking, which can prevent your tears from distributing evenly around your eyeball.

Unfortunately, staying indoors may not provide relief for your eyes either. In these colder months, heating systems are used in most settings to maintain a comfortable temperature. Central heating sends very dry air into the building, which lowers the humidity.

Solutions for Treating Winter Dry Eye

Our eye doctors have some home remedies that may help to alleviate your symptoms. They suggest using a humidifier in your home to restore some moisture, especially while you have the heat running. Consider setting your heat to a lower temperature. Blink more and use artificial tears to lubricate your eyes. When outside, protect your eyes with glasses or goggles so the wind cannot blow directly into them.

However, if you battle dry eye symptoms throughout the year and notice the symptoms get worse in the winter, it may be time to take more serious action for more thorough relief. At Vista Eye Specialists, we have a couple of exciting dry eye treatments:

  1. TearCare is a non-invasive treatment that uses heat energy to gently unblock obstructions in your meibomian glands so that a high-quality tear film can be created on your eyes that will prevent tears from evaporating too quickly.
  2. Punctal plugs are miniature inserts placed at the corner of your eye that prevent tears (and artificial tears) from draining from your eye too quickly.

Seek Dry Eye Treatment

Don’t spend another winter with red, burning eyes. If home remedies for dry eye are not providing you with sufficient relief, it’s likely time to seek professional treatment to protect your ocular health. To discuss your options with a leading eye doctor, please call 1-888-393-5264 today.