Winter is here and along with the dropping temperatures comes drier air and colder winds causing dry, watery, and itchy eyes. Here are some tips to keep your eyes protected this winter.
Wear Sunglasses and Goggles
It is important to understand that sunglasses are essential for year-round protection. In fact, snow and clouds reflect UV rays increasing their intensity. Too much exposure can cause a corneal sunburn called Photokeratitis which can be compared to a sunburn on your skin.
Don’t forget the kids. Children’s exposure to UV rays can be longer due to extended periods of playing outdoors.
Everyone has experienced watery eyes in the winter. Drier winter air leaves your eyes with a thinner layer of moisture to protect the surface resulting in the overproduction of tears. Sunglasses will not only protect you from harmful rays but also the glare from snow, wind gusts that make your eyes water, and your car heater vents. From driving to shoveling snow to enjoying your favorite outdoor activities don’t forget your eye protection this winter.
Glasses instead of Contact Lenses
If you are a contact lens wearer, consider wearing glasses more throughout the winter. Glasses provide a barrier from the cold, wind, and allergens that contacts cannot provide.
Use Artificial Tear Eyedrops
The low humidity, drier gusty air along with allergens can cause irritation and discomfort. Using over-the-counter preservative-free artificial tears will help keep your eyes moisturized and comfortable. Also, winter means more time indoors, which usually means more screen time. When looking at a computer screen you blink less leading to further dry eye issues. When sitting at your computer try the
20-20-20 rule to give your eyes frequent breaks. Look at an object 20 feet away every 20 minutes for
20 seconds to relax accommodation strain of too much time spent at near focus. Another recommended rule is to close your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to combat dry eye from staring at the screen.
Don’t touch your eyes
Winter is cold and flu season with drier winter air allowing viruses and bacteria to thrive and spread. Never touch your eyes without washing your hands first. Germs from your fingers can quickly spread to your eyes leading to irritation, itchiness, and even infection.
Use a Humidifier
Humidifiers add moisture to the air helping to relieve allergy, cold and dry eye symptoms. Also, consider directing the heat from vents in your car and home away from your eyes.
It’s important to stay hydrated year around. Dehydration is especially common in winter months. Drinking plenty of water every day is not only essential to good eye health but also to keep the rest of your body functioning at its best.