4 Easy Tips to Avoid Dry Eyes This Winter

by Anna Moeslein

Mark LeibowitzMark LeibowitzI've been a contacts wearer for roughly 10 years now, but winter is always hardest for me. With the harsher weather and dry indoor heating, keeping my eyes moist is always a struggle. Wondering if there were other ways to keep my eyes healthy besides frequent eye-drop applications, I asked an expert, Susan Resnick, O.D. F.A.A.O., to weigh in on some simple ways to help make my contacts more comfortable.

1. Check the room's temperature.
"There are several culprits that can lead to ocular dryness and discomfort during the winter," Resnick says. "Indoor heating, for one, can wreak havoc on eyes--use a humidifier or keep a window cracked open a bit in your office or home to help retain moisture in the air." For contact lens wearers, she recommends using a contact lens that provides moisture to the eye. She suggests trying a brand such as Acuvue Oasys contact lenses with Hydraclear Plus technology because they are ultra smooth and more wettable for all-day comfort.

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2. Don't forget to blink. "There's nothing like cozying up to watch a movie or read a book when it's cold outside, but looking at one thing for too long can exacerbate dryness," Resnick advises. "When focused on a screen or page for an extended period of time, your blink rate slows and you often don't close your eyes entirely when you do blink--meaning you aren't able to get the full lubricating effect that the action is supposed to provide." To prevent this, she suggests taking a one or two minute "un-focus" break every 20 to 30 minutes--look at something far away and blink deliberately five or six times. "If looking at a computer, make sure the screen is a couple of inches below eye level to allow for normal lid positioning and blinking," she adds.


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3. Be choosy about your eyeliner. "I know it's tempting to pile on the eye makeup, but it's important to skip the eyeliner on your inner lids," Resnick says. "This is where the oil glands are located, and if these get blocked, dryness will ensue." Also, Resnick says, opt for non-waterproof and non-oily makeup and make sure to remove makeup entirely before retiring for the night. "Use moisturizers and eye creams sparingly and be sure not to apply too close the edge of the eyelids, as the cream may travel into the eyes overnight," she says.


4. Check your diet. "Small dietary changes can aid in combating ocular dryness, including incorporating omega-3 fatty acids--such as those found in fish and flax--into your diet, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and, of course, drinking plenty of water throughout the day," Resnick says.

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