Why Are My Eyes So Dry in the Winter?

Girl crying

With winter, the weather becomes drier and colder, making your eyes more prone to drying out. Even if you don’t usually have dry eyes, your eyes might suddenly start to feel dry and tired with this kind of weather.

The frigid winter temperatures result in low humidity outside, and when combined with the toasty indoor heat, they can worsen dry eye symptoms.

Dry heat or wind can lead to the evaporation of moisture from your eyes. Unfortunately, your tear glands can’t produce enough fluid fast enough to maintain the liquid coating that protects your eyes and keeps them hydrated.

When you don’t have enough moisture in your eyes, it leads to dry, itchy eyes that can cause watery vision, pain, a burning sensation, or blurred vision as your eyes attempt to make up for the dryness.

Keep reading for a few reasons why you have dry eyes during winter.

Staying Too Close to Heat Sources

While cozying up in your home on a cold winter day is a welcome idea, indoor heaters usually get rid of the moisture in the air. This can cause blurry vision and dry eyes.

You might also have a gritty feeling like there’s sand in your eyes. Many people assume these are signs of an infection or allergy, but it may be your natural tears drying out.

To compensate, try not to sit too close to heaters, fireplaces, or any ambient heating. If your eyes feel dry, keep artificial tears or eye drops on hand.

Not Taking Screen Breaks

When temperatures drop and you can’t spend as much time outdoors, you may find yourself turning to your screen for entertainment. Most people rarely keep track of their screen time and don’t give their eyes a much-needed break.

If you spend more time looking at your phone or television, you’ll expose your eyes to harmful blue light, straining your eyes, and forgetting to blink, all of which are responsible for dry eyes.


You are more likely to smoke indoors when it’s cold outside. Smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke can both contribute to the symptoms of dry eyes. If you’re a smoker, the best thing you can do is quit! It’s both good for your eyes and the rest of your body.

Not Getting Enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids In Your Diet

Cold, dry winter air tends to inflame your tear glands, partly stopping the flow of tears. If your diet is low in omega-3 fatty acids, the production of tears will be affected, exacerbating the inflammation.

You can add more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet by eating fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel, as well as nuts and seeds like walnuts and flaxseed.

Putting the Heat in Your Car Up Too High

When it’s chilly outside, so is your car. It’s only natural to turn on the heat when you step into your vehicle.

But sitting directly in front of the hot air from the vents will only dry out your eyes faster. Avoid this temptation and keep your heat on low when you have to be in the car.

Forgetting to Hydrate

It’s easy to stay hydrated in the sweltering hot summer months, but you may not feel as thirsty in the winter. In the colder months, artificial heat accelerates the evaporation of tears.

Low temperatures dampen your body’s thirst mechanism. Dehydration can strip your eyes of moisture, causing dry eyes. Do your best to drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water every day, no matter how cold it is outside.

Professional, Effective Treatment for Dry Eyes

Dry eye is a medical condition that should be appropriately treated to protect your vision and eyes. To know what is causing your dry eye, schedule your consultation today with the eye doctors at Short Hills Ophthalmology in Short Hills and Clifton, NJ.

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Short Hills, NJ 07078
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777 Passaic Ave Suite 485
Clifton, NJ 07012
Fax: 973-473-4811
Mo: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Tu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
We: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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