Add dry eyes to the health woes of winter.
"On average, the humidity drops in the winter with the colder weather [and] most people turn on the heat in their homes or offices to combat the cold," said Dr. Marissa Locy, who's with the University of Alabama at Birmingham's department of ophthalmology.
"What you end up having is lower humidity outside, and even lower humidity inside -- making for warm, dry conditions where moisture can evaporate from the eye faster than normal," she explained in a university news release.
That can leave your eyes feeling dry, gritty, stuck and irritated.
What to do?
Locy suggests several steps to protect your eyes from becoming dry:
During cold weather, your eyes can dry out even more if you wear contacts. So, Locy said, be sure you always wear clean contacts to reduce itching and possible infection.
Dry eye can sometimes progress to dry eye disease. See your doctor if you're concerned.
Dry eye cannot be cured, Locy said, but symptoms can be relieved by using eye drops, ointments or medication, or by plugging some tear ducts to slow the drainage of tears from the eye's surface.
The U.S. National Eye Institute has more on dry eye.
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