Are Your Dry Eyes Worse in Winter? Here’s Why and How to Combat It

As winter sets in, many people notice a spike in dry eye symptoms. The cold months bring a unique set of challenges for eye health, exacerbating issues for those prone to dryness and irritation. But why exactly do our eyes suffer more during winter, and what can we do to alleviate the discomfort? Let’s dive into the reasons and solutions.

Why Dry Eyes Get Worse in Winter

1. Dry Air and Indoor Heating The primary culprit behind worsening dry eyes in winter is the lack of humidity. Cold air holds less moisture and indoor heating systems further dry out the air, creating an environment that quickly evaporates the tear film on your eyes.

2. Increased Screen Time Winter often means more indoor activities, including increased screen time for many. Whether it’s watching TV, working on a computer, or scrolling through social media, staring at screens reduces the frequency of blinking, which is essential for maintaining eye moisture.

3. Wind and Cold Weather Exposure to cold winds can strip moisture from your eyes. Even when you bundle up, your eyes remain vulnerable to the elements, especially if you participate in outdoor activities like skiing or hiking.

4. Seasonal Allergies While often associated with spring, allergies can also be a winter issue due to indoor allergens like dust mites and mold, which can trigger eye irritation and dryness.

Combatting Dry Eyes in Winter

1. Humidify Your Space Using a humidifier in your home or office can significantly increase indoor moisture levels, helping to maintain the tear film on your eyes. Aim to keep indoor humidity between 30-50%.

2. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule To reduce screen-induced dryness, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This helps in reducing eye strain and encourages blinking.

3. Stay Hydrated Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body and eyes hydrated. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.

4. Protect Your Eyes Outdoors Wear wraparound sunglasses or goggles to shield your eyes from wind and cold when you’re outside. This simple step can prevent the elements from directly affecting your eyes.

5. Use Artificial Tears Over-the-counter artificial tears can provide immediate relief for dry eyes. Use them regularly, especially if you know you’ll be exposed to dry conditions or engaging in activities that strain your eyes.

6. Adjust Your Diet Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet through sources like fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Omega-3s have been shown to improve the quality of the tear film and reduce dry eye symptoms.

7. Consult an Eye Specialist If your dry eyes persist or worsen, it’s essential to consult an eye specialist. They can recommend prescription eye drops, punctual plugs, or other therapies tailored to your specific needs.


Dry eyes in winter can be uncomfortable, but understanding the factors that contribute to the problem and taking proactive steps can make a significant difference. By creating a more eye-friendly environment and adopting healthy habits, you can enjoy the season without the irritation of dry eyes. Remember, your eyes are delicate and need extra care during these colder months—stay vigilant and take action to keep them healthy and comfortable.

Feel free to explore our range of protective eyewear and eye care products at Safety Glasses Online to help you combat dry eyes this winter.

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