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Why You Get Watery Eyes In Cold Weather

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Posted in Dry Eye Diagnosis, Environmental Dry Eye

Are Watery Eyes a Bad Thing?

Watery eyes can actually be a good sign. While too much water can certainly be annoying, those tears are protecting your eyes by keeping them lubricated. The eye’s natural tear film is made up of three layers that work together to protect your cornea and maintain optimum eye comfort.

This maintenance is helped by something called the lacrimal gland, an important structure that sits just above each eye and acts as a water reservoir for the eye’s surface.

The moisture created by our lacrimal glands is constantly evaporating, so when our eyes get watery, that’s our glands reacting to a signal from the brain that we need more tears.

Is It Normal for Eyes to Get Watery In The Cold?

Most people will experience watery eyes occasionally when exposing themselves to cooler temperatures. Generally, cold air is also dry air, and it’s this lack of moisture that is problematic for our eyes.

Think back to the last time you were outside when it was particularly windy. If you were facing the wind, you probably started tearing a lot. That’s because all that air blowing into your eyes rapidly dries out your tear film and kicks your lacrimal glands into overdrive. Essentially, the same thing happens when our eyes encounter cold air, but usually to a lesser extent.

How to Prevent Dry Eyes in Cold Weather

While suffering from watery eyes on a cold day is fairly normal, if you find that your eyes constantly to feel dry when temperatures begin to dip, there are a few things you can do to try to prevent discomfort, such as:

  • Using a humidifier at home
  • Avoiding the outdoors on cold and windy days
  • Wearing goggles or sunglasses for outdoor activities
  • Applying preservative-free eye drops before heading out into the cold

If you find that the above measures aren’t doing enough or if you find your eyes are irritating you no matter the temperature, you may be suffering from dry eye disease, a problem that affects nearly a quarter of Canadians.

How Do I Know If I Have Dry Eye Disease?

One study conducted by a group of doctors in 2019 estimates that more than 6 million Canadians could be living with dry eye disease (DED). Many of them likely don’t realize they’re suffering from it and may even think their dry eyes are normal. 

You may be dealing with dry eye disease if you’re experiencing prolonged eye discomfort and any of the following symptoms:

  • Burning/scratching
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tired eyes

You can try our free online survey to help you determine whether or not your symptoms could be linked to DED. If you want dry eye relief,  you should also book an appointment to see an eye doctor that has the equipped knowledge in dry eye.

Are Dry Eyes a Big Deal?

Unfortunately, dry eyes are more than just an uncomfortable feeling. If left untreated, this imbalance in your tear film can lead to infection, inflammation of the eye, or in rare cases, damage to your cornea.

Women with snowflake in front of eyes to display healthy vision without dry eye with face mask on.

Don’t Live With Dry Eyes

MyDryEye helps match you with a dry eye doctor near you so that you can get help fast. We’ll help you find an eye doctor who can conduct a comprehensive assessment of your symptoms and determine what course of treatment is right for you so that you can get back to feeling normal again. 

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