5 Reasons Why Dry Eye Occurs More In Autumn

If you frequently suffer from dry eye, you’ve likely discovered symptoms getting worse in the colder months. This can be fairly irritating - you think you’ve got everything under control, then autumn arrives and takes you back to square one!

Dry eye occurs when your eyes cannot produce enough tears, but what causes this to happen? Read on to discover five reasons why dry eye occurs more in autumn. You’ll also discover some helpful tips to get you through these colder months.

Common Symptoms Of Dry Eye

Believe it or not, dry eye has far more symptoms than, well, a dry eye…

Before we dive into why dry eye occurs more in autumn, let’s take a look at some common symptoms of the condition:

  • Stinging or burning sensations
  • Itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Red or blotchy eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigue
  • Constant watering (ironic, isn’t it?)

In more severe cases, dry eyes can lead to persistent eye infections. Visit your doctor if you have developed an infection.


Why Does Dry Eye Occur More In Autumn?

1. The Air Is Dry

The Problem: We often know autumn has arrived when the temperature suddenly drops and the air starts to feel crisp. As shocking to the system as this might be, we sadly can’t control the drop of humidity in the air.

Unfortunately, the sudden drop of humidity towards the end of the year is one of the leading causes of dry eye. To put it simply, there isn’t enough moisture in the air to keep our eyes hydrated. Not only this, but turning up the heating to stay warm further dries out the air, increasing the chances of eye irritation.

The Solution: Let’s be real here - no one wants to sacrifice their heating on some of the coldest days of the year. And, luckily, you don’t have to! Consider using a humidifier inside the house to keep the air nice and moist. Your eyes sure will thank you for it.

For contact lens wearers, consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses made from silicone hydrogel when the weather starts to get cooler. Daily disposables feel fresh on the eyes, and silicone hydrogel retains more moisture, keeping your eyes hydrated.

2. The Sun Is Still Shining

The Problem: Many people put their sunglasses into hibernation when the colder months arrive. However, although autumn and winter may feel gloomy, the sun is still present and shining. Ditching the sunglasses can result in over-exposure to UV rays, causing premature eye ageing and dry eye. Is it really worth it?

The Solution: On sunny days, consider wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes. This will lower the risk of irritation. If you wear contact lenses, check to see that they have a UV filter for extra protection.

3. It’s Windy

The Problem: Similarly to the sun, windy weather can cause havoc with your eyes. There’s nothing worse than trying to see clearly when the wind has caused a constant stream of tears!

The cold chill of the wind will dry your eyes out almost immediately, especially if you’re already prone to dry eye.

The Solution: Once again, wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from the wind. You could even mix things up and wear a brimmed hat if that’s more your style. Just make sure it sits securely on your head!

If possible, avoid spending too much time outside when it’s super windy outside. Sunglasses or a hat can only protect you so much, especially when the weather predicts gale-force winds.


4. You Spend More Time Looking At Screens

The Problem: It’s only normal to spend more time looking at screens when the weather is freezing. Whether it be scrolling through social media for hours on end or snuggling up to watch your favourite movie, your screen time soon starts to add up.

What you might not know, however, is that staring at screens for long periods of time can lead to dry eye. You unintentionally blink less when you focus on something, resulting in a lower production of tears.

The Solution: Take frequent breaks away from your screen - get up, walk around, and don’t forget to blink! These breaks should help to give your eyes a ‘reset’, allowing them to focus on something else for a while.

To further prevent the risk of developing dry eye from digital screens, try to cut down your screen exposure as much as possible. You can do this by setting a timer or limiting yourself to a certain number of shows per day.

5. Caffeine Intake Has Increased

The Problem: Did you know that coffee is a diuretic, meaning it can dehydrate you and encourage the development of dry eye?

Without even knowing it, our consumption of caffeine tends to increase in the colder months. The dark weather lowers our energy levels, leaving us feeling like we have no choice but to have a coffee or three.

The Solution: If the above situation sounds all too familiar, it’s worth monitoring your caffeine intake so that you don’t overdo it. Over-caffeinating is not only incredibly unhealthy for your eyes - your whole body will start to depend on the caffeine, creating a vicious cycle.

Opt to drink decaf drinks instead - they’re just as warming and won’t leave you buzzing around with irritated eyes!

Are You Ready For Autumn?

As you can see, there are many reasons as to why your eyes may become dry during the colder months. However, with the solutions mentioned in this guide, you should have an easy-going autumn without any added troubles!