Dry eyes are caused by decreased or inadequate tears and should be discussed with an ophthalmologist
. Tears help protect the surface of your eyes, as well as protecting your eyes from infection. Dry eyes can be caused by a wide variety of problems and situations. There are several diseases, medications, and problems with the eye, eyelid, or tear ducts that are known to cause dry eyes. However, there are multiple situational or lifestyle factors that are known to cause eye dryness. These include exposure to dry air, wind, and irritating activities where people reduce the frequency of blinking such as driving, reading, watching TV, or working on a computer. Winter months tend to be both dry and windy, so people frequently experience dry eyes throughout the winter. Generally, dry eyes don't cause serious problems, but sometimes excessively dry eyes can lead to damage to the surface of the eye or more frequent eye infections. For this reason, if you experience frequent dry eyes, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for an eye exam. For occasional dry eyes in the winter, over the counter drops can provide relief. Artificial tears eye drops can be used frequently to increase the moisture in your eyes and help alleviate symptoms and discomfort. Just make sure to avoid drops that decrease redness, as chemicals in these drops frequently cause additional eye irritation.