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Keep Your Dry Eye Symptoms Under Control This Winter With These Easy Tips

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It’s about that time of year where we say goodbye to grass-filled lawns and warm sunny days. Winter is just around the corner, and people all over Winnipeg are getting ready to accept its icy embrace. If you’re one of the thousands of Winnipeggers that lives with chronic dry eye syndrome, winter’s imminent arrival also means that another three to five months of elevated symptoms are on their way.
Our dry eye clinic sees hundreds of people every year, and while some experience extreme difficulty in the winter, most see some level of relief by making a few environmental and lifestyle changes. Try some of the tips below to help kick eye discomfort to the curb.

Control Your Environment as Much as Possible

Dry eye is one eye condition that responds favourably to a well-controlled environment. Whenever possible, take steps to improve the air quality and ambient humidity in the environment around you.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Air quality is a larger influence on dry eye than most people realize. While you may not always be able to tightly control the environment around you (such as when you’re at work), making small adjustments and influencing what you can will benefit you regardless.

  • Avoiding smokey/hazy/dusty areas. Symptoms can flare up when smoking or being in an environment that is smokey. Wood-burning fires, incense, and even things like hairspray can all kick your discomfort up a notch.
  • Reducing how much airflow reaches your eyes directly. If you have a fan or convection heater active, take steps to ensure the airflow doesn’t impact your eyes. Wearing glasses will greatly reduce this.
  • Using an air cleaner. If you live in a dusty area, have pets, or have recently undergone a renovation, a portable air cleaner in your bedroom/home office/etc. can go a long way in filtering out dusty and other eye irritants.
  • Increasing ambient humidity. Dry air will cause moisture loss to occur more rapidly compared to air that is more humid.

Tips for Outdoors

While it’s relatively straightforward to control the indoors, outside is a whole other ballgame.

  • Wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses whenever you are outdoors. The glasses will act as a shield against wind, blowing snow, dust, and whatever else is being carried around in the wind.
  • Wearing UV-blocking lenses. UV light, which we receive mostly from sunlight, is harmful to your eyes.
  • Avoiding the outdoors whenever it’s freezing-cold, smoggy, and hazy. Winnipeg doesn’t get a lot of smog, but it does get a lot of sub-zero days and cold-snaps.

We Can Help With Your Dry Eye

Many people are able to control their dry eye symptoms successfully on their own. Unfortunately, many others are not. If your dry eye symptoms are causing you discomfort, know that you have options.
Working together, we can improve eye lubrication, influence tear production, and get your discomfort under control. We welcome you to visit us.

Written by Dr. Scott Mundle

A University of Waterloo graduate (class of 1983), Dr. Mundle became a partner with Henderson Vision Centre just one year later. Dr. Mundle has been an integral part of Henderson Vision Centre ever since.
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