Surviving ‘Dry January’: How to combat Dry Eyes in Winter

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Consultant Oculoplastic Surgeons Ms Aoife Naughton, Ms Jenny Doyle, and Mr Richard Scawn at The Clinic Holland Park, West London share their expert tips on keeping your eyes comfortable and hydrated during these dreary months.

Dry, Itchy, and Gritty Eyes

As we embark on another ‘dry January’, it’s also important to address another common issue that can arise during this time of year – dry eyes. With the cold winter months and indoor heating, many individuals experience dry, itchy, and gritty eyes. So just as we take steps to prioritise our health by participating in ‘dry January’, it’s equally important to take care of our eyes and maintain their hydration.

Dry eyes, also known as dry eye syndrome, occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears, or when the tears evaporate too quickly. This can result in a range of symptoms, including a stinging or burning sensation, redness, sensitivity to light, and difficulty wearing contact lenses. It can also cause blurred vision and discomfort when performing activities that require prolonged focus, such as reading or using a computer.

So, what can we do to combat dry eyes during winter and ensure our eyes are properly hydrated? Here are a few tips to help keep our eyes comfortable and healthy during the colder months:

Tips to keep our eyes comfortable

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  1. Stay Hydrated: Just as we need to stay hydrated for overall health, it’s important to stay properly hydrated for our eyes too. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help maintain moisture levels.
  1. Use a Humidifier: Indoor heating can dry out the air, leading to dry eyes. Using a humidifier can help add moisture back into the air, providing relief for dry eyes.
  1. Blink More Often: Staring at screens for extended periods can cause us to blink less frequently, leading to dry eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more often, especially when using digital devices.
  1. Practise the 20-20-20 Rule: When spending long periods focusing on a screen or performing close-up tasks, take a break every 20 minutes and look at something 20-feet away for at least 20 seconds. This can help reduce eye strain and dryness.
  1. Use Artificial Tears: Over-the-counter artificial tear solutions can help lubricate the eyes and provide relief from dryness. Choose preservative-free options for frequent use.
  1. Protect Your Eyes: Wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harsh winds and UV rays, which can exacerbate dry eye symptoms.
  1. Eat a Healthy Diet: Incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts) can help support eye health and reduce dry eye symptoms.

By taking these simple steps to care for our eyes, we can ensure they stay comfortable and healthy during the winter months. For persistent symptoms or concerns, Ms Aoife Naughton, Ms Jenny Doyle and Mr Richard Scawn are available for specialist eye consultations at The Clinic Holland Park, West London.

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