Dry skin, chapped lips and dry eyes are part and parcel of winter weather—and it doesn’t matter if you enjoy outdoor winter sports like skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing or prefer sipping hot cocoa by the fire. Dry air and sun glare are two main culprits of winter that can take a toll on your eye health.
Dry air wicks moisture out of your eyes leaving them red, irritated and itchy. It may also cause your tear ducts to overproduce tears, leaving you with watery eyes. Sun glare is another concern for eye safety. The winter sun sits lower in the sky and at a different angle than the summer sun, so it may expose your eyes to a larger amount of harmful UV rays and glare. In fact, snow reflects nearly 80 percent of the sun’s harmful rays, so even if you’re enjoying the snowy landscape from the warmth of your picture window, your eyes may still be at risk.
Ten tips for winter eye safety
Here are ten simple but effective eye safety tips for winter weather:
- Blink more often
Blinking encourages the production of natural tears. If you’re struggling with dry eyes as a result of winter weather, make a conscious effort to blink more often.
- Use a humidifier
Counteract indoor heating and the dry air that comes with it by using a humidifier in your bedroom at night. This can help increase the level of moisture in the air and keep your eyes comfortable.
- Try artificial tears
Schedule an eye exam to find out whether artificial tears are right for you. They can help replenish the moisture in your eye and manage rapid evaporation but it’s important to select the one that’s right for you.
- Eat more cold water fish
Cold water fish like tuna, mackerel and halibut are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for helping retain moisture in your eyes.
- Stay hydrated
One of the best ways to counteract dry eye and to keep your eyes safe from infection is to stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat foods with high water content to help keep your eyes healthy throughout the cold season.
- Avoid heat sources
It’s tempting to linger by the fire or radiator after coming in from the cold, but that won’t do your eyes any favors. Protect your eyes from over drying by using a humidifier along with indoor heat whenever possible.
- Spring for sunglasses with UV protection
Wearing high-quality sunglasses is important for UV eye safety. Your eyes are very susceptible to UV damage, and too much winter sun can lead to short and long term vision problems.
- Wash your face before bed
Makeup residue, sweat and germs can eventually have a negative effect on your eye health. Be sure to wash your face before bed every night and freshen your pillowcase once a week to keep your eyes safe from infection.
- Avoid rubbing irritated eyes
If something is bothering your eye, resist the urge to rub which can lead to additional pain, swelling or discomfort. Instead, reach for a warm damp cloth at the first sign of discomfort and rest for 15 minutes.
- Wear protective goggles
If you plan to enjoy outdoor winter sports, make sure your goggles fit properly and have adequate UV protection. This can save you from harmful eye injuries that may damage your cornea.
Call Eye Specialists of Louisiana at 225-465-2603 to schedule comprehensive eye exams in Baton Rouge, LA.