Staying in air-conditioned rooms all the time is becoming more common. It is a lot more comfortable than suffering the heat of the day. The problem is that air conditioning removes moisture from a room, and it can be bad for your eyes. Here’s a quick rundown of what you must know about air conditioning and your eyes.
The need to stay wet
Your eyes need to stay moist for them to be effective. Moist eyes remain clean and get a layer of protection from various irritants. This protection comes in tears, water, oil, and mucus. The water and oil come from glands, while the eye produces the mucus. The problem with air conditioning is that it removes the moisture from the air to help cool the room, which can dry up tears quicker. However, the water part becomes missing while the oil and mucus are there. The result is an imbalance, and you will start suffering from dry eyes. It is worse if you suffer from meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD, the leading cause of dry eyes. The meibomian gland produces the oil component of tears, and if it is not producing enough combined with zero moisture, your eyes will dry up fast.
Dry eye effects
The initial effects of dry eyes are minor. For example, you’ll start feeling an itchy sensation in your eyes. However, while minor, the sensation can get worse. Other symptoms include red eyes and sensitivity to light. Additionally, the imbalance in your tears will make your vision blurry.
The effects can get worse if dry eyes do not get treatment. Tears are your body’s natural disinfectant. If your eyes lack them, there is an increased chance that an infection could start. Your eyes will also be more fragile since the protective film of tears is gone.
Fortunately, there are several treatments available for dry eyes. The most common treatment is basic eye drops. People can buy them without a prescription, often for those with occasional dry eyes. The drops act as artificial tears until your body can produce normal tears again. However, those suffering from chronic dry eyes can have a condition like MGD, so they often have more specialized treatments. For example, effective light therapy for MGD is available where intense light is aimed at the meibomian gland to remove any blockages so that it produces more oil. Implanting plugs in the tear ducts is also a possible treatment to stop tears from draining away quickly.
Dry eyes are irritating and can lead to later problems. Even with the available treatments, experiencing dry eyes can be an uncomfortable experience. A good idea would be to make some changes in your lifestyle so that you stay in air-conditioned rooms less. You should seriously consider turning off the AC when the temperature is at a certain level since it will allow moisture to come back into the air. Using a humidifier can also be effective.