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For the most part, staying warm in the winter involves comfy blankets, thick sweaters, and taking advantage of the conveniences of indoor heating. However, as much as these heaters seem convenient as warmers, they might contribute to issues like dry eyes.
Dry eyes problem can be extremely uncomfortable and restrict you from engaging in activities that you enjoy. Here are some tips for keeping your eyes safe during winter and reducing your need for dry eye medication. We talked to Dr Shantanu Mukherjee, Senior Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals and here is what he has to say.
Heating vents or space heaters produce hot, dry air that might hurt your eyes, especially if you wear contact lenses. Avoid sitting directly in front of a space heater or your home's heating vents if you want to avoid dry eyes.
Due to the dry atmosphere heaters create and the proximity of the blowing air to the eyes, heaters can cause dry eyes. Furthermore, the heat causes tears to evaporate, leaving the eyes vulnerable. You can also redirect your car's heating vents so that they don't blow directly in your face. If you wear contact lenses, you may wish to switch to eyeglasses while the warmth is turned on at home.
Infrared (IR) heaters emit a type of radiation that is much different from the radiation associated with x-ray machines or germicidal light bulbs. Some of the properties of infrared radiation (IRR) are comparable to those of visible light; however, IRR is invisible to the naked eye. Infrared heaters do not heat a room or the air within it.
The IRR primarily flows through the air, heating other items such as furniture or your body but not the air. Extreme heating might result in fires or dangerous skin burns. Furthermore, since the eye blocks the IRR, the eye begins to overheat leading to eye damage and possible blindness. As a result, you should avoid staring at the heater for long periods of time.
If you run a heater regularly in your home, it will reduce the moisture of your indoor air. This can lead to irritation in the eyes and make it itchy and dry. You can buy a humidifier to restore moisture to your indoor air. Humidifiers release water vapour or steam into the air to make it more humid. You can also install a central humidifier in your home's heating unit to humidify your entire house and combat dry air and dry, itchy eyes.
Lubricant drops are prescribed to reduce eye dryness. Anti-inflammatory medicines help too. If you find symptoms, visit an ophthalmologist. Your doctor will assess the severity of your dry eyes and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
You should also keep your body hydrated by drinking additional fluids (for example: water, juices, and milk). Avoid drinking too much coffee or tea. The minimum recommended fluid intake is 2.5-3 litres per day, so stick to that and get yourself checked as soon as possible.
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