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Dry Eye in the Summer vs. Winter: Understanding Seasonal Challenges for Eye Health

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Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition that causes dryness, irritation, and a feeling that something is stuck in the eye. It’s caused by various factors, but the main one is meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) which is triggered by blocked oil glands.

Although it can happen any time of the year, dry eye symptoms tend to vary between seasons. Understanding the differences can help you manage your eye health more effectively. You should also book a dry eye consultation at tokens name=’practice’] in Katy for tailored dry eye relief.

Summer: Environmental Factors and Increased Tear Evaporation

During summer, dry eye symptoms may worsen due to the following factors which cause faster tear evaporation and tear film instability:

Sun Exposure and UV Rays: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can trigger inflammation on the eye’s surface, making dry eye symptoms worse. Wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats can provide protection from UV rays.

Air Conditioning and Dry Air: Due to the heat, air conditioning may be necessary in summer, but it can also reduce humidity levels indoors and contribute to dry eye symptoms. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and prevent excessive tear evaporation.

Swimming and Chlorine: Chlorinated pool water can irritate the eyes and lead to dryness. Wearing goggles while swimming helps protect the eyes from chlorine by preventing contact between the eyes and pool water.

Winter: Indoor Heating and Reduced Humidity

In winter, dry eye symptoms are often caused by the following:

Indoor Heating: Heated indoor environments have low humidity levels, resulting in dry air that causes moisture evaporation from the eyes. Using a humidifier can prevent this.

Cold and Windy Weather: Cold, windy conditions cause tears to evaporate more quickly, which causes discomfort. Protective eyewear, such as wraparound glasses, can protect the eyes from the harsh winter elements.

Reduced Blinking: We tend to blink less in cold weather, which means less tears are spread over the eye’s surface. Making a conscious effort to blink regularly and taking breaks from screen time can alleviate dry eye symptoms.

Managing Dry Eye Throughout the Year

Regardless of the season, certain underlying conditions can contribute to dry eye. Meibomian gland dysfunction, blepharitis, and contact lens-related complications are a few examples.

Sometimes, dry eye can indicate conjunctivitis or corneal neovascularization (when blood vessels grow in the cornea), which is why regular eye exams are essential for long-term relief.

Dry Eye Treatments in Katy

For tailored dry eye treatments, book an appointment with an eye doctor who treats dry eye, such as Vision Gallery in Katy.