It can irritate you on sunny days, and it can bother you on cold nights. This prevalent condition is known as dry eye, and it can appear any time of year. Luckily, it can also be treated regardless of the cause and season.


  1. What is dry eye?
  2. What causes dry eye in the fall?
  3. What causes dry eye in the winter?
  4. What causes dry eye in the spring?
  5. What causes dry eye in the summer?
  6. Other causes of dry eye

What is dry eye?

Your eyes require moisture in order to function properly, much in the same way your car’s engine needs oil for lubrication. Dry eye occurs when your eyes lack the ability to produce tears properly or when the tears evaporate too quickly.

Common symptoms of dry eye may include:

  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Watery eyes

What causes dry eye in the fall?

One of the most common causes for dry eye during the autumn months is fall allergy season. Ragweed pollen is prevalent during this time, and those who are sensitive to it may experience eye irritation to go along with their sniffling and sneezing.

While oral antihistamines may help allergy symptoms in general, they do have the negative effect of exacerbating eye dryness. Your physician may recommend a specific brand of antihistamine to prevent this, while an allergist may also suggest immunotherapy options to target your allergies at the source.

What causes dry eye in the winter?

Wintertime means low temperatures and low humidity, both of which can dry your eyes out more than normal. Keeping your home warm can help reduce this likelihood but it is best to avoid having your face directly in front of your heating source such as a space heater.

A humidifier can also bring necessary moisture into the air to alleviate your symptoms. Before bed, one option to consider is to cover your eyes with a warm compress to promote extra blood flow to the areas around your eyes.

What causes dry eye in the spring?

Like fall, spring allergy season can be a time of discomfort for those who are prone to dry eye. In addition to the previous methods of treating allergies, washing your clothes after spending time outside can prevent pollen and pet dander from tracking into your home and causing your symptoms to continue.

For additional comfort, consider using over-the-counter eye drops as recommended by your ophthalmologist. These can include artificial tears used before bed and those that can be used throughout daytime.

What causes dry eye in the summer?

If you think your eyes are free from dry eye symptoms in the summer, think again. As you spend more time outside in the sunny weather, your tears may evaporate quicker due to sun exposure. Other aspects, including swimming in the ocean or pools and additional sweating, can irritate your eyes even further.

Multiple steps can be done to reduce your dry eyes in the hot season. Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays, while goggles are your best friends while swimming. Wearing headbands can also prevent sweat from dripping into your eyes. Above all else, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can make it less likely for your eyes to dry out.

Other causes of dry eye

Dry eye can affect you any time of year, but sometimes the cause may not be seasonal. As you age, your ability to produce tears diminishes over time. This can lead to additional bouts of dry eye even in optimal weather conditions. Sleeping in your contact lenses can also create this situation, as can reactions to medications such as birth control. For women in particular, hormonal changes both during pregnancy and following menopause can make dry eye more likely.

If your symptoms persist even after these prevention and treatment methods, schedule an appointment with CEENTA’s team of eye specialists for a thorough examination and additional recommendations. To book your appointment with a CEENTA ophthalmologist, use our online scheduling platform or myCEENTAchart if you are an existing patient.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. To make an appointment with a CEENTA eye care specialist, you may schedule an appointment onlinethrough myCEENTAchart, or by calling 704-295-3000.


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