VSP: ‘Tis the season to winterize your eyes

Harsh weather conditions like cold temperatures and wind, mixed with hot air blasting from your heater, can be a recipe for dry eyes in the winter months. Symptoms of dry eyes can include burning and itchy eyes, blurred vision, and as odd as it may sound, watery eyes.  

I have been told I have dry eyes, yet they constantly water — How could they be dry?  

Optometrist Dr. Mei Fleming explains that it’s a sequence of events that becomes a vicious cycle. 

“When your eyes are dry, it sends out a signal to your lacrimal gland, which produces tears,” said Dr. Fleming. “All of a sudden, you get an overproduction of tears.” That extra production of tears is called reflex tearing. According to Dr. Fleming, reflex tearing is your body counteracting dryness by flooding your eyes with tears that run down your cheeks.  

Dry eyes can be caused by a number of things including:  

  • Allergies  
  • Medication  
  • Underlying disease  

“It’s important to keep in mind, having watery eyes doesn’t necessarily mean you have dry eyes,” warns Dr. Fleming. It’s always best to consult your eye doctor first to find out what the cause of your watery eyes might be.  

It’s also a good reminder that an annual comprehensive exam can find signs of over 270 health issues. Some of these issues are chronic and can be very risky for your health. Reach out to your eye doctor to make that appointment.  

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