Fight dry eyes during winter months

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

Much of the country has been hit with bitter cold temperatures, causing some people to crank up their thermostat. But oftentimes, this can leave our eyes dry and itchy.

Dr. Eric Porisch at Precision Eyecare says it’s normal for people to get dry eye during the winter months.

“In the winter - in our environment - we might have our heaters going and our furnaces going, and that could dry out our eyes,” Porisch says. “You could have redness in your eyes, grittiness, burning sensations, fluctuating visual acuity.”

Experts say that drinking water can help retain fluids to avoid the condition. But Porisch says you can also place inexpensive items within your home for added eye protection.

"In the winter - when the humidity is a lot less as it is right now - a lot of times, we can use a humidifier in your home to help increase the humidity in our household,” he says.

Dry weather isn’t the only contributor of dry eye. Things like sunlight, smoking, certain medications and even makeup, like mascara, can contribute to the condition.

“If we’re not getting a good, clean area around our eyelids, we might use some eyelid wipes to help clean the area around our eyelashes,” Porisch says. “Or you could also use a warm washcloth and keep that area clean.”

If wipes don’t do the trick, there’s alternatives, such as artificial tears or fish oil.

“We can use fish oil capsules, in which sometimes we might use 2,000 mg a day to help with increased protection,” Porisch says.

Porisch also says that wearing sunglasses in the car can help with protection. Not only do they block the sun, but also the heat blowing out of the vents.

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