There’s nothing more fun come the winter season than packing up your bags and heading up to Raging Buffalo or Four Lakes (both less than an hour outside of Hinsdale, Illinois) for some fresh air and high-intensity fun. However, winter comes with more than just fun and merriment. It can also exacerbate dry eye syndrome.  This unfortunate side effect of the cold season has plagued skiers and snowboarders since the sports were created. So, why do your eyes feel especially dry during ski season? What can you do to avoid it?

Why Does the Winter Make Your Eyes Dry?

It all has to do with air quality and the physics behind it. No one likes the soup-like humidity in the middle of summer until it’s the dead of winter and your lips are chapped, your nose is bleeding, and your eyes are burning like crazy. The reason humidity disappears in winter is because water condenses much faster when it is cold out. This means fewer water particles in the air, which help keep your skin and other sensitive body parts hydrated. To make matters worse, dry air actually actively sucks the moisture from your body like a sponge.

How to Avoid Winter Dry Eye

If you think you can escape dry eye by remaining indoors and hibernating all winter, think again! Leaky buildings bleed out moisture, which the cold air devours relentlessly. Heating systems that use convection (systems that blow hot air through vents or ducts) can make it even drier.

To avoid winter dry eye, try some of the following tips:

  1. Wear protective goggles while skiing. Flying down the mountain without eye protection not only causes the moisture on your eye to rapidly evaporate, it can also be physically dangerous. Falls are inevitable when doing snowsports, and debris in the air can also get into the eye. Make sure to get goggles that are polarized and UV protected, to avoid glare from the snow and prevent damage from harmful sun rays!
  2. Avoid convection heating as much as possible. If you like to use space heaters, try getting a mini radiator instead of a more traditional heater, and if you have a car with heating seats, try to rely on those more than your vents.
  3. You can purchase indoor humidifiers for your home to combat the dry weather, but it is even more important to properly seal your house to prevent moisture from escaping. Try putting plastic on drafty windows, and using door sealer that can be purchased at most home improvement stores. This is a great way to save on heating as well!


This year, don’t let dry eye drag you down! Contact us at Hinsdale Eye Center to schedule an appointment and get some more tips on managing dry eye symptoms. To contact us, call (630) 325-5200 or request an appointment online!