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February Newsletter: Tips to Keep Your Contact Lenses Comfortable During the Winter

Woman deals with dry eye during the winter.

10 Tips to Keep Your Contact Lenses Comfortable During the Winter

If you've noticed that your contact lenses don't feel quite as comfortable lately, you're not alone. Many contact lens wearers struggle with comfort during the winter. Following a few of these tips just may make it easier to wear your lenses on dreary winter days.

  • Raise the Humidity Level. Dryness is a common complaint among contact lens wearers during the winter when humidity is naturally lower. Unfortunately, the dry air produced by heating systems only worsens the problem. Adding a humidifier or two to your home will increase moisture and reduce your discomfort.
  • Stay Out of the Wind. Winter winds also dry your eyes, making your contacts feel hard and uncomfortable. Cut down on wind exposure by wearing sunglasses when you venture outside on a windy day. Any style will help block the wind, although wraparound styles provide the best protection. Make sure the sunglasses you choose block 100% of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays may increase your risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Avoid Blowing Air. Blowing air, whether it's inside or outside, may dry your eyes. Sit far away from forced air heating vents in your home and aim vents away from your face in the car. Hot air from your hair dryer could also be the reason that your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable. Solve the problem by putting your contacts in until after you style your hair.
  • Skip the Fire. Tempted to make a cozy fire in your fireplace to banish winter chills? Spending time in a smoky room can dry your contacts and make your eyes burn and itch.
  • Blink More. Blinking spreads moisturizing tears over your eyes and helps you avoid dry eyes. If you use digital screens at work or home, you may not be blinking enough. The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that people using digital devices only blink 5 to 7 times per minute rather than the normal rate of 15 times a minute. Reminding yourself to blink could keep your contact lenses more comfortable.
  • Keep Rewetting Drops with You. You may be able to control the humidity at home, but what about when you're out? If you notice your eyes are irritated, remove your lenses and apply a liberal amount of rewetting drops. Preservative-free artificial tears can also help keep your eyes moist.
  • Drink More Water. Drinking more water may or may not make your eyes more moist, but it typically won't hurt to increase your water intake during the winter.
  • Store Your Glasses Nearby. If your contact lenses become too uncomfortable, don't hesitate to pop out your contact lenses and put on your eyeglasses. You may find that your eyes need more frequent breaks during wintry weather due to wind and low humidity.
  • Keep Other Factors in Mind. Winter weather isn't the only cause of dry eye. Hormonal changes due to menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause could also be to blame, according to All About Vision. Diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, and other diseases and conditions can also cause or worsen dry eye.
  • Talk to Your Eye Doctor. When dry eyes become a frequent problem, it's a good idea to get in touch with your optometrist. He or she might recommend trying another type of lens that retains moisture better than your current lenses. Your eye doctor can also provide tips that will help you endure winter weather in comfort.

Dealing with contact lens discomfort this winter? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: Computers, Digital Devices and Eyestrain, 8/8/2023

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/computer-usage

Acta Ophthalmologica: The Relationship Between Habitual Water Intake and Dry Eye Disease, 2/2023

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10087849/

All About Vision: Dry Eyes: Symptoms and Causes, 2/14/2023

https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/dryeye.htm

American Optometric Association: Dry Eye

https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/dry-eye?sso=y

Medical News Today: Causes of Dry Eye in Winter and How to Treat Them, 11/16/2021

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/does-winter-cause-dry-eyes#prevention