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The ills of winter: Dry eye syndrome

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The amount of moisture in winter air is much less than that of other seasons. With humidity much lower, all sorts of problems with dryness can occur. Everyone knows about drier skin during winter months, but many people, especially older adults, have a problem with dry eyes.

The cause of dry eyes can be one of several reasons, but they all come down to this: The eyes are not producing enough tears every minute. Without this needed moisture, eyes become so dry that they often hurt. Rubbing the eyes brings temporary relief, but rubbing the eyes is not good for the eyes or the skin around them.

If eyes feel gritty, vision is blurry and it becomes difficult to keep the eyes open, it is probably a good idea to seek an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Severe dry eyes that need eye drops more than six times a day, every day, may need a prescription called Restasis.

If someone suffers from occasional dry or irritated eyes, an over-the-counter purchase of natural tears should be sufficient. Don't use the kind with preservatives.

People who stare at computer screens all day should remind themselves to blink frequently. Also, stop, stand, stretch and look away from the monitor for five minutes every hour. A humidifier may be needed due to the heating system at work or at home. The heat keeps the air dryer. Try turning down the thermostat to 67-68 degrees.

Dry eyes can cause serious problems with vision if left untreated. There may also be another underlying eye condition causing the dry eyes. Click here to learn which type of eye doctor you may need.

Watch the video to learn about a new treatment for dry eyes. Although a machine is used in the video, the concept is basically a natural treatment with heat.

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