When fall rolls around each year, you want to get out and enjoy the beautiful colors, but your dry eye flares up. Instead of hiding inside, you want solutions that will help remedy your itchy, scratchy, burning, or blurry eyes so you can appreciate this time of year again.
Dr. Curtis Frank and the team here at Vision and Ortho-K Center hear you loud and clear, and we’re here to help. If you’re struggling with dry eyes that seem to flare up during certain seasons, read on to learn more.
Common drivers of dry eye
Under ideal circumstances, you produce tears that nourish and protect your eyes. To serve those functions, your tears need to have the right balance of water, oil, and mucus, and they need to stay on your eyes long enough to do their job.
When you have dry eye, which affects about 16 million people in the United States, the problem can stem from:
- An imbalance in the ingredients in your tears
- Not enough tear production
- Tears that evaporate too quickly
There are many factors that can lead to one or more of the conditions we describe above, such as:
- Taking certain medications
- Wearing contact lenses
- Staring at screens without blinking
- Having LASIK surgery
- Having eye infections
- Being around smoke
- Living in a windy or dry climate
- Having allergies
Since we’re discussing dry eye during the fall, we’re going to focus on the last two — allergies and environment.
The seasonal difference
Fall in New England covers two significant risk factors for dry eye — seasonal allergies and environmental conditions. First, those beautiful fall colors often come with leaf mold, which can make seasonal allergies flare, not to mention certain fall pollens, such as goldenrod.
As well, fall can be windy here in Massachusetts, which isn’t doing your dry eyes any favors. As well, you may find yourself indoors more, with the heat turned on, which can lead to a dry environment inside your house.
So, inside and out, your eyes are encountering conditions that are making your dry eye flare up.
To get relief, you can work with your provider on controlling your allergies, and we can do our part to relieve the symptoms in your eyes.
There are many approaches to relieve dry eye, including:
- Artificial tears
- Omega-3 supplements that support eye health
- Eye drops
- Punctal occlusion
You can also make some lifestyle changes to combat dry eye, such as using a humidifier in your home.
The best plan of attack for dry eye that flares during the fall is to come see us for a more tailored plan. Diagnosing the exact cause of your dry eye is important and dictates how we move forward — for example, do you need more tears or do you need for your tears to stay on your eyes longer?
For expert diagnosis and treatment of your dry eye, no matter the time of year, please schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Boston or Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts.