It’s not the winter blues…It’s not the Christmas Credit Card hangovers…So why are so many patients experiencing tearing this time of year. Ironically, its because their eyes are DRY. Simply put, when someone’s eyes are dry, the body automatically turns on the ‘faucets’ and starts over producing tears to help soothe and lubricate the dry eyes. This time of year is especially brutal on the body; Chapped lips, dry/cracked hands, and flaky/itchy skin are all very prevalent during these colder/drier winter months. Why would we expect the eyes to be any different?
The eyes need fresh tears on a constant basis, which is why we blink naturally every 5 seconds or so. However, when we are staring at the computer, our blink rate drops to every 10-15 seconds. Which in turn, accelerates the drying process. It is especially important to keep a bottle of artificial tears next to your keyboard and proactively use drops every few hours. It is soothing, refreshing, and it actually improves your vision!
Other simple over-the-counter tricks to consider are using a high-quality, preservative-free, artificial tear instead of the mass marketed ‘junk tears’ that are used to ‘get the red out’. There are many very good OTC products to choose from depending on your symptoms and severity. There are also gels and gel drops to use right before bed. These thicker lubricants are wonderful for overnight use to ensure you start the day off fully hydrated. (Especially for a significant majority of unsuspecting folks who actually sleep with their eyes not fully closed at night!) Warm compresses and heat masks will also help increase the eye’s natural tear production. And finally, drinking plenty of water and having an in-room humidifier will help your whole body stay more hydrated during these dry winter doldrums.