You may find that your eyes feel dry this holiday season and there are a couple of reasons why. One reason is that the air is dryer in winter and so are your eyes. Dry eye symptoms always worsen in the winter months. But there may be another reason. A study published in the respected journal Ophthalmology reported that alcohol consumption actually makes your eyes dryer.
The study subjects were young men without any history of dry eyes. They were divided into two groups, one group had an alcoholic beverage between 8 and 10 pm and the other did not. They then had their eyes examined at midnight and again at 6 and 8 am the next day. At all three points the group that had the alcoholic beverage showed signs of dry eyes while the other group did not.
Is this news you can use? Sure, if you already have dry eyes you may want to bring along some artificial tears to that holiday party. This is certainly important if you wear contact lenses as they absorb your tear film leaving less to bathe the eye. If you do this and your eyes are still uncomfortable, then you should probably take the contacts out and switch to glasses. You do not want to risk starting out the new year with a bad infection or by damaging your eyes.
Besides tears, there are a number of other treatments for dry eyes. Be sure to discuss this when you come in for your regularly scheduled exam. You should come in sooner if you have been experiencing worsening dry eye symptoms such as eye pain, blurred vision or feeling like there is something in your eyes.
Dr. Martha Jay is a board certified ophthalmologist specializing in medical and surgical eye care including blade-free iLASIK and small incision cataract surgery. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.