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How To Combat Winter Dry-Eye Syndrome

Eye dryness can be pretty annoying. All you feel like doing is itching your eyes and blinking when you really should be focusing on school or work. Even worse, untreated eye dryness can lead to scratched corneas, which are very painful and can even become infected. For many dry-eye sufferers, symptoms only appear (or are much worse) during the winter. Here are four things you can do to combat winter dry-eye syndrome.

Run a vaporizer while you sleep.

Eye dryness is often worse in the morning. This is because, as temperatures outside plummet, your heating system kicks into high gear, forcing a lot of dry air through your ducts and right past your eyes. You can combat this issue by running a vaporizer in your room. These machines, which only cost a few dollars at the pharmacy, turn water into vapor and blow it out into the air. Sleep with one on, and your eyes won't feel nearly as itchy and dry in the morning.

Wear sunglasses when you venture outside.

The cold winter air is great at drying out your eyes. The easiest way to protect yourself is with a pair of sunglasses. They'll also prevent you from being "blinded" by sunlight reflecting off the white snow. As a result, your eyes won't have to work as hard and won't feel as irritated and dry.

Use eye drops before you need them.

If you wait until your eyes are really uncomfortable before using eye drops, the drops might sting a bit, and they won't be that effective. A better strategy is to just carry the drops with you and put them in every hour or so, whether or not you feel like you need them at the time. Lubricating eye drops a typically just saline solution with some silicone added, so there's no worry of overdosing and causing any harm. If you wear contacts, be sure to buy a formula made for contact wearers.

Talk to your eye doctor about a prescription.

If the steps above don't get rid of your eye dryness, you may want schedule an eye exam so you can speak with your eye doctor about prescription medications to increase tear production. Some of these medications come in pill form, and others are eye drops. You might actually have low tear production all year long, but you only notice it when it gets really bad due to dry air and wind in the winter. These medications will correct for that.