Seasonal Factors and Dry Eye: How to Protect Your Eyes Year-round

If you suffer from chronic dry eye, you know all about the burning, itching, redness, and watering that characterize the condition. Dry eye occurs when the eyes fail to produce adequate tears to stay healthy, clean, and well-hydrated. The symptoms usually worsen in certain seasons. If not treated, dry eye can lead to eye and vision complications.



Spring and Dry Eye


The presence of common allergens exacerbates dry eye symptoms in springtime. Pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, and other allergens can worsen dry eyes. High winds and indoor fans can also quicken tear evaporation.

Using eye drops and other allergy medications can reduce the flare-up of dry eye symptoms. Keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face, which could transfer allergens to your eyes. Your eye doctor can recommend the best treatment for your condition, depending on the underlying cause.


Dry Eye in Summer


Most people with chronic dry eye experience a reduction in symptoms during the summer. The warm and humid air can keep the eyes comfortable and moist. However, it is vital to use sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays.

It is also essential to drink plenty of water to stay well-hydrated. Inadequate hydration can affect tear production. Using OTC artificial tears can help to soothe dry eyes and alleviate discomfort when the eyes feel dry or irritated.


Dry Eyes During the Fall


The cool weather after summer may bring some overall relief, but it is not always kind to the eye. Autumn is synonymous with dry air, ragweed, and other allergens that exacerbate dry eye symptoms.

Spending time outdoors can leave the eyes feeling dry and irritated. Wearing safety goggles during outdoor activities, such as raking leaves, can help. Taking allergy medication can alleviate the symptoms.


Winter and Dry Eye


The cold winter air can worsen dry eye symptoms. Many dry eye patients experience the most severe symptoms during the coldest months. Besides the dry outdoor air, indoor heating reduces humidity, exacerbating the symptoms.

Many people suffer from the flu or a cold during the winter; some medications can worsen dry eye symptoms. Using a humidifier to add indoor moisture and wearing sunglasses outdoors can help.


Protecting Your Eyes


There are things you can do to protect your eyes year-round. Reducing allergy symptoms can help prevent dry eyes. Wearing sunglasses outdoors protects the eyes from harmful UV rays that are present from summer to winter.

Eye protection also keeps away strong wind, pollen, and other allergens. If you wear contact lenses, consider switching to eyeglasses when your dry eye symptoms are severe. Use an air purifier to keep allergens out of your indoor spaces. Use artificial tears to keep your eyes lubricated.

Prolonged use of digital devices can worsen dry eye symptoms. Take frequent computer breaks, and remember to blink when looking at the screen. Wear eye protection, and remember that UV rays are present even on cloudy and snowy days. Changing seasons can affect the severity of dry eye symptoms. Managing your symptoms can help keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.

For more on seasonal factors and dry eye, visit Drs. Dobbins & Letourneau Eye Care at our office in Lawrence, Kansas. Call (785) 843-5665 to book an appointment today.

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