December 9, 2019 Eye Associates

Winter Care Eye Tips

(Yes, You Can Freeze Your Eyes!)

While the official first day of winter isn’t until December 21, temperatures are already dropping, cold winds are blowing, and we’re wearing coats, gloves and hats to stay warm and protected from the cold. But you may be neglecting one important part of your body in the winter: your eyes!

Tip #1 – Keep Your Eyes Moist

Winter eye care is more important than you may realize. Bright sun reflections from snow and drier air conditions can irritate your eyes and impair your vision. Although the cold, dry air of winter may not be ideal for optimal vision health, there are plenty of solutions to keep your eyes clear, comfortable and healthy this season.

  • If you notice your eyes becoming excessively dry, itchy or red, consider getting a humidifier to add moisture to your home’s air flow.
  • You can also use lubricating eye drops or a dry eye gel, which are available without a prescription.
  • Another good way to fight dry eyes during winter is to stay appropriately hydrated. Experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water every day and making omega-3 oils (from fish, nuts or supplements) part of your diet.
  • Also, try blinking more often whenever your eyes feel dry.

Tip #2 – Wear Protective Eyewear

Although it may seem like the sun disappears in the winter, UV rays do not.  And if there is snow on the ground, the amount of UV rays you’re exposed to can double from what is present during the summer months. The bright sun reflects off the white surface of snow, which magnifies the rays and makes them even stronger. Snow blindness (photokeratitis) can occur when your eyes are overloaded with UV rays, causing blurry or temporarily lost vision. 

  • Be diligent about wearing protective glasses whenever you’re outside for more than 15 minutes
  • Choose sunglasses with UV protection to ensure your vision is safe from snow-reflected sunshine. 
  • If you frequently participate in outdoor winter sports, find goggles that comfortably cover both of your eyes and have built-in UV protection. [You can actually freeze your corneas when they’re exposed to extreme cold temperatures and high winds, especially at high elevations!]

Tip #3 – Practice Good Eye Hygiene

A cold or flu virus can survive for several hours on everyday surfaces like grocery cart handles or doorknobs. Touching one of these infected items before rubbing your eyes can introduce the virus to your immune system very quickly.

  • Washing your hands often and being aware of when you are touching your eyes goes a long way toward avoiding illness. 
  • You might not feel the need to rub your eyes so often if they are properly moisturized. Instead of rubbing them if your eyes are bothering you, place a warm, damp cloth over them for 15 minutes.

Whether you love or hate winter, don’t let it affect your vision. Protect your eyes and keep them healthy this season!

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