Blog Hero

Winter is Just Around the Corner. Are Your Dry Eye Symptoms Flaring Up?

Book An Appointment

If there’s one thing that Grande Prairie is known for, it’s our long, temperate summers and short, mild winters… or is it our long, unpredictable winters and short, mild summers? It can be hard to remember sometimes.
Jokes aside, we’re coming into another winter! As the temperatures drop, so too does the humidity level. If you’re someone that lives with dry eye syndrome, you may be noticing an increase in the frequency and severity of your symptoms.
Have you ever wondered why dry eye flares up in the winter months?

Dry Eye Doesn’t Respond Favorably to Low Humidity

Dry eye occurs when the eye(s) lack proper lubrication. This base cause can be managed from several angles, both directly and indirectly. A direct method of relieving dry eye is to use lubricating eye drops, while an indirect method may be to increase indoor humidity and take more frequent breaks when working at a computer.
Because lubrication of the eye is essential for maintaining comfort and health, ambient air quality should always be considered. A big part of ambient air quality is humidity.

Why Humidity Matters

An environment low in humidity – a description that applies to most of Alberta – encourages a faster rate of moisture evaporation. Your body, and eyes, are always losing moisture to the air. If you live in Southern Ontario, where ambient humidity levels are often in the 55% – 70% range, you will shed less eye moisture compared to parched-Alberta, where humidity levels average 35% – 45%.

Turn Up the Humidity!

Most homes have a central humidifier (if you have hardwood floors you almost certainly will). Find it and turn it up until your home sits at 50% – 60% humidity. From then on, sit back and enjoy the benefits the increase humidity provides your eyes (and also skin and hair).
Portable humidifiers also work well, though their effects are best localized to a smaller room. A single portable humidifier won’t be able to up the humidity throughout your home.

Cold Air & Wind Take Their Toll on Your Eyes

We all know what a bone-chilling winter wind feels like. When a particularly brisk-breeze hits our eyes, it saps moisture away in an instant and leaves our eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable.
The fact is that wind isn’t really wonderful for dry eye sufferers regardless, but at least in the spring and summer months it isn’t so impactful on our eyes. In the winter, with icy temperatures and dry air, the wind can strike our eyes with a real wallop.

Protecting Your Eyes From The Wind & Cold

The best way to give your eyes a break from the wind is to wear glasses whenever you are outdoors. Eyeglasses and sunglasses both offer a physical barrier between your eyes and the outside world, preventing most wind from physically reaching the eye.
Speaking of sunglasses, check out the designer brands we carry and come in for a try-on. You’ll love our selection of stylish sunglasses!

Written by Dr. Kyla Hunter

More Articles By Dr. Kyla Hunter
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax