The likely reason? It’s dry eye season.
When the air is colder and drier than the rest of the year–yes, even here in humid Washington–your eyes are much more susceptible to drying out. Even if you don’t normally have chronic dry eye problems like I do, when this kind of weather rolls around you might suddenly start feeling it.
Dr. Crowell, who also suffers from dry eyes, has a particular interest in treating them. She told me she has been seeing an increase in patients who come in because they feel like something is in their eye, when in actuality dry eyes are to blame. What’s more, having dry eyes can cause your vision to fluctuate, as we’ve discussed in a previous blog. So if you’re noticing increased glare or blurriness, especially when driving at night–you guessed it: dry eyes might be the source.
The good news is, the problem is fixable. If you are noticing any of the symptoms I mentioned already (see the full list of symptoms here), we encourage you to come in and have one of our doctors confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity. In the meantime, your first line of defense can be over-the-counter artificial tears, taken at regular intervals throughout the day (try three times per day for a few days, and increase or decrease as comfort levels require). Just be sure you’re not buying anything with vasoconstrictors in it (read the label) or allergy drops–both of those will make the problem worse, not better. Also, increasing your rate of blinking will help to create and maintain a protective tear film on your eyes. In addition, you may want to consider trying a humidifier at home.
Guarding your eyes while outside with sunglasses–or even full goggles–will offer protection against wind and light irritation. Whatever you do, don’t rub your eyes, as this will only lead to inflammation.
If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule an appointment at Eye, please contact us today. We are happy to answer any questions you might have! You can also now schedule your eye exam online–just click the button at the top of our website.
In addition, join us on Facebook to ask your questions about eyes, exams, and our practice. We’d love to hear from you–and there might be a blog to address your questions in the future.