Managing Dry Eye Symptoms Between Seasons
If you have chronic dry eye, you are probably all too familiar with the itching, burning, watering, and redness accompanying this condition. Dry eye is the result of not producing enough tears or producing tears of poor quality. Left untreated, dry eye can cause complications, such as eye infections and long-term eye damage. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available.
Many things can affect the severity of your symptoms, including the changing seasons. Seasonal allergens, temperature, wind, and humidity can all play a role in how your symptoms worsen or improve over time. You can do yourself is learn how to manage your symptoms from season to season to keep your eyes as comfortable and healthy as possible.
In the springtime, one of the most exacerbating factors related to dry eye is the presence of common allergens, such as pollen, as well as pet dander, mold, or dust. Furthermore, outdoor breezes and indoor fans can both cause tears to evaporate more quickly. If you have dry eye symptoms that seem to worsen in the spring, you may also have seasonal allergies, but allergy medications may help. Taking an allergy medicine or eye drops for allergies on days when allergen levels are high enough to cause a flare-up of symptoms may be enough to bring you relief. If not, you may need to take an allergy medication every day throughout the season to keep your symptoms at bay. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor to find the proper treatment for you.
Many people experience a vacation of sorts from their dry eye symptoms during the summer months. Even people with severe dry eye the rest of the year may notice a reduction in their symptoms in the summer. It’s most likely because the summer air is warm and humid, helping to keep the eyes moist and comfortable. If you still notice bothersome symptoms when it’s hot out, you can use home remedies to alleviate the discomfort. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays, stay hydrated, and use over-the-counter artificial tears when your eyes feel especially dry or irritated.
You may welcome cooler days after a hot summer, but your eyes may not love the weather as much during the fall. During the autumn months, there are a couple of factors that can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, including allergens and drier air. Ragweed is a common fall allergen that can irritate your eyes. Just as in the springtime, an allergy medication may help. You can also avoid spending time outdoors on days when your eyes feel particularly irritated. You may want to avoid yard work and other activities that stir up allergens. Or you can protect your eyes from irritants by wearing safety goggles during these activities. Leaves can harbor both ragweed and mold, another potential trigger.
The increasingly cooler air in the fall can worsen dry eye symptoms, which comes to a peak in the winter. Many people find that their symptoms are most severe during the coldest months. Not only is the air outdoors drier, but it’s also drier indoors because of heating. In the winter, you are also more likely to get sick with a cold or the flu, and the decongestants and other over-the-counter medications you may take for these illnesses can further exacerbate your dry eye symptoms. Try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air inside your home and wearing goggles when outdoors to prevent moisture loss. It would help if you also practiced good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing, to avoid getting sick.
The changing seasons can make things worse for people with dry eyes but learning how different weather conditions affect you and how to address these issues can go a long way towards helping you feel better. Any time of year, it’s a good idea to consult with an eye doctor about dry eye and how to get relief.