There is nothing quite as distracting and irritating as dry eye. Cold, arid temperatures can leave eyes feeling fatigued and vision appearing blurry. You do not have to sacrifice good vision every winter, though. You can make some small decisions that will have a big impact on your eyesight:
- Reposition air vents in your home, office and car. Direct heat from air vents, space heaters and furnaces can evaporate tear film and dry out delicate membranes in your eyes. Point vents away from your face, even on the coldest winter days. Keep a humidifier on each level of your home, and purchase a small humidifier for your office. You will soon notice a difference in your eye comfort.
- Not all eye drops are created equal. With all the eye drops available today, how do you choose the best one? Artificial tears, redness remover, eye lubricants, and saline drops may all come in a similar sized bottle but are not the same. Artificial tears lubricant ointments are safe to use up to four times per day. Some drops, such as eye drops that claim to remove redness, can actually exacerbate your symptoms. Talk to your eye doctor about which type of eye drop is best for you.
- Add more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help naturally lubricate your eyes. If you are not a seafood lover, try walnuts, olive oil and fish oil supplements. Always make sure that you speak to your doctor before taking any new supplement.
- Remember the 20-20-20 rule. This rule is important 365 days per year and applies to children and adults of all ages. Too much screen time can damage your eyesight, and your eyes need regular breaks and rest from televisions, smartphones, tablets, and computers. Every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Schedule regular comprehensive eye exams. There is no substitution for an eye exam by a licensed eye care specialist. Occasional dry eye can progress into dry eye syndrome or dry eye disease, so schedule a comprehensive eye exam every year to prevent dry eye and other eye diseases.
Take care of your eyes this winter to keep your vision clear. You don’t have to sacrifice your eyesight during the cold months. Good eyesight just takes some initiative and planning.