Chronic dry eye affects people of all ages but is most common among those over 50. It arises when the eyes produce too few tears or tears of poor quality. If not treated, dry eye can cause eye infections or eye damage. Many people who suffer from dry eyes use eye drops daily.
Unfortunately, this can do more harm than good as the drops fail to provide much relief over time. Fortunately, other treatment options have proven to be effective.
Climate and weather have a significant impact on the health of the eyes. Those who suffer from chronic dry eye find that seasonal changes affect their symptoms. They usually experience worsening in some months and relief in others.
Humidity, temperature, and wind can affect the eyes. Seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold can exacerbate dry eye. Eye doctors agree that dry eye complaints vary significantly depending on the season. They tend to increase during winter and fall.
Dry eye can have symptoms similar to seasonal allergies. Similar symptoms include redness, dryness, and grittiness. If you have increased itching, it is more likely to be allergies. However, if you experience excessive burning, it may be dry eye. Allergies also tend to include nasal congestion.
If your symptoms worsen in the fall, you should visit the doctor for a proper diagnosis. Getting a diagnosis will help ensure that you get the best treatment. If you have an allergy, the doctor can recommend medication that will not cause dry eyes.
Fall is characterized by cooling weather with leaves swirling around, trees swaying, and a cold breeze. It is a time when outdoor activities are plenty. Windy weather is a significant part of fall, and a temperature surge can lead to ocular dehydration. The dry air increases tears’ evaporation, leaving the eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable.
An increase in pollen, dirt, and dust in the air means more particles get into the eyes, causing irritation. Wearing sunglasses when you go outdoors can help protect your eyes from the elements.
As the air gets colder outside, people turn to indoor heating to keep warm at home and in the office. Unfortunately, the heating systems reduce the moisture in the air, leaving the eyes dehydrated. For people with dry eye, the symptoms worsen while indoors.
A solution is to invest in a humidifier, which increases moisture in the indoor air. Apart from keeping the eye hydrated, a humidifier will also help promote healthy skin and hair.
As the cooler weather keeps people indoors, most turn to digital devices for entertainment. Prolonged use of the devices can lead to digital eyestrain. When watching digital screens, people blink less often, which worsens dry eye.
Proper digital device use can help reduce the symptoms. It includes adequate positioning and taking regular breaks. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help provide relief for dry eye. If you suffer from dry eye symptoms, visit an eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
For more information on dry eye symptoms and how the seasons affect them, call Westchester Eyes & Aesthetics at our Yonkers, New York office. Call 914-586-EYES (3937) to schedule an appointment today.