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Dry, Burning Eyes? Could Be Dry Eye Syndrome


We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.

If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.

Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. They rinse the eye of any dust or particles and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that eliminate bacteria that can be present in the eye.
When the eyes have insufficient tears, the results are often discomfort such as perpetual feelings of dryness, burning, scratchiness or the feeling of something in your eye. To the surprise of many, dry eyes often can cause eyes to water excessively in an attempt to compensate for inadequate tearing.

There are several causes of dry eyes. Dry eyes are often age related as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, especially women during menopause. Dry eye syndrome can also result from certain medicines. Dry or dusty air, and excessive heating or air conditioning are also known to cause or worsen dry eyes. Additionally, some diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or others, extended computer use or use of contact lenses can add to the chances of dry eye syndrome.

The symptoms associated with dry eyes can often be improved by using lubricating eye drops to reduce dryness. Your eye doctor can tell you which eye drops to purchase and how to use them. If non-prescription drops don’t help you may need Rx drops that actually stimulate your body to produce more tears.

If those don’t help, your eye care professional might suggest Lacrisert, which is inserted into the eyelid and periodically lets out lubricants during the day. You may also want to try lacrimal plugs which help keep the eye moist by controlling the drainage of tears. Some eye doctors might suggest you try nutritional supplements or environmental changes to lessen discomfort.

In most cases, dry eyes do not affect your eyes permanently but can be a discomfort. Nevertheless, very serious cases increase the risk of infection so it is advised to consult with your eye doctor.

If you notice dry, itchy, burning eyes, it could be dry eye syndrome so schedule a visit to your eye doctor as soon as possible!