If you’ve lived in New England through winter, you know how harsh it can be. Here in Boston, Massachusetts, we are no stranger to Nor’easters, which are powerful winter storms that can bury us in ice and snow. But you don’t have to be in a state that sees a lot of snowfall to know one of the most aggravating parts of winter: dry eyes.
Dry eyes can be an irritating, burning, itchy reminder of how much you took the humidity of summer for granted. The condition can make your eyes feel gritty, blur your vision, and, ironically, make your eyes uncomfortably watery. It may seem impossible to battle the forces of climate when it comes to dry eye, but there are actually many steps you can take to reduce the impact of the weather this year.
Step One: Hydration is the Key
Dry air not only sucks the moisture out of your body through the outside, leading to chapped lips and dry skin, but every time you take a breath it will dry you out from the inside. This has a negative effect across the board when it comes to your health. Eyes, in particular, are very reliant on a proper moisture content in the body. Consider upping your intake of water daily through the winter. You can even enjoy hot soups to keep you cozy while you hydrate!
Step Two: Not All Heat is the Same
It’s obviously necessary to keep yourself warm during the winter. It’s difficult to function without a proper source of heat, and many people resort to using space heaters to keep them comfortable while watching TV, reading, or doing work at their computers. The most prevalent type of space heater you’ll see on the market uses “convection” as a means of transferring heat.
Basically, this means the heat is blown out as hot air, such as the vents in your car. While this is certainly an efficient way to rapidly heat up a room, convection heating also eats up moisture. As an alternative, look for radiator style space heaters. These produce and distribute heat slightly slower than a convection style, but will not affect the ambient humidity in your room. For driving, you can try to rely on your seat warmers more if you have them in your car.
Step Three: Manufacture Moisture in Your Home
Houses are not always the perfect shelter. While it definitely beats spending the winter out in the cold, your house may be bleeding moisture (and heat!) every second. Usually, these areas of leakage are isolated to points of entry such as around windows and doors, but it can also be a matter of improper sealing. This winter, try placing plastic wrap tightly over your windows, and getting your door properly sealed. In addition, consider walking around feeling for drafts and locating leaks, sealing them with caulk or your preferred type of sealant. If it’s still not enough, humidifiers are excellent ways to boost the ambient moisture in whatever room you are in, and are relatively inexpensive.
Don’t succumb to the woes of dry eye this year. If you think that your dry eye syndrome may be chronic, and not just climate related, contact New England Eye Center in Boston to schedule your dry eye appointment!