Dry Eye Syndrome, Air Conditioning, and Heaters, Oh My!
These days we never have to be too cold or too hot, no matter the weather, thanks to air conditioning and indoor eating. We can stay amazingly comfortable all day and night whether it’s a blizzard or a heatwave.
Unfortunately, this reliance on climate control can cause some serious side effects for eyes in the form of dry eye syndrome. But what is dry eye syndrome and is there any way for you to prevent it without shutting down your AC or heater completely? Let’s take a look.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
In well-hydrated eyes, enough healthy tears are produced with each blink to coat the eyes and keep them well hydrated. But due to a number of factors, the eyes sometimes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears that are produced don’t contain the right ingredients. The result is dry eye syndrome.
Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include red, dry, itchy, watery or gritty-feeling eyes.
The Effects of Air Conditioning and Heating On Your Eyes
Air conditioners and heaters can drastically reduce the amount of moisture in the air around you. Because your eyes need this moisture to stay hydrated and comfortable, this can cause dry eye symptoms to worsen.
On top of this, if the air is blowing into your face, this causes your eyes to dry out more quickly, and before you can properly blink to rehydrate your tear film, your eyes are already dry and uncomfortable.
Additionally, filters and ducts that aren’t cleaned properly may contain spores of mold, bacteria, and viruses that can all cause allergic reactions and eye inflammation, again making dry eye symptoms worse.
Tips and Tricks For Managing Your Dry Eye Symptoms
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the symptoms of dry eye disease caused by your air conditioning and heating.
Keep An Eye On Your Air Conditioning and Heater Use
Always make sure that your AC or heater is turned off when not in use. This allows moisture to return to the air, making it easier to keep humidity at a healthy and comfortable level.
Use a Humidifier
Especially in drier climates or seasons, humidifiers can absolutely be your eyes’ best friend. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and help to keep your eyes well-hydrated and comfortable throughout the day.
Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure that you find one that will work for the home or office space you’re in. And remember to clean your humidifier as directed by the manufacturer.
Ask Your Lewis Center Optometrist For Help!
If you’ve taken measures at home to reduce your symptoms but are still having issues with dry eyes, our eye doctor will perform an assessment to get to the root of your dry eye syndrome and find the right type of treatment to help you feel and see better!.
Want to know more about how to reduce your dry eye symptoms, and how we can help? Visit our Lewis Center and Westerville eye doctors at Professional VisionCare today!
Can dry eyes cause blurry vision?
Yes. Blurry vision is a commonly occurring side effect of dry eye syndrome. This generally occurs because of disruptions in the tear film, which cause the tear film to be unevenly distributed on the eye. An unbalanced tear film affects the way light enters the eye, causing it to be scattered and resulting in blurry vision.
Are dry eyes dangerous?
In most cases, dry eyes are inconvenient and uncomfortable, but rarely dangerous. However, dry eye syndrome can make your eyes more prone to infections, which can be potentially sight-threatening if not treated properly. Also, severe cases of DES can result in ulcers and scarring on the cornea, which can result in vision loss.