Winter eye health can be challenged when temperatures turn south, but by incorporating these tips and tricks, you can keep your eyes healthy and happy. During the colder months, our first priority maybe just to stay warm when we venture outside, but colder temperatures don’t translate into colder UV rays; the sun can still wreak havoc on your eye health and wellness during the colder months. Dry eyes can cause a multitude of symptoms and challenges that can make you miserable. By taking steps to keep your eyes moist, you can help preserve their health all winter long! Take these precautions to protect your eyes and make them more comfortable during the drier, cold months of winter.
Winter officially spans the three months between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Depending on where you live, you will experience different winter eye health challenges due to varying climates, bacteria, and distance from the sun. But, for the majority of the country, winter weather brings a considerable drop in temperatures and a considerable rise in certain winter eye health challenges. These winter eye health challenges most commonly stem from:
Dry air exposure
Weather changes with increased wind
Injury (from snow sports to weather-related accidents and falls)
Increased screen time
Learn more about each of these winter eye health challenges and what you can do to help avoid them. Taking steps now will help you safeguard your winter eye health and your enjoyment of this diverse season!
Winter weather drives temperatures down and decreases the humidity content of the air. This decrease in outside humidity when paired with decreased humidity inside from constant heater use means your eyes are faced with much drier circumstances. Dry eyes can cause a multitude of symptoms and problems. Eyes require lubrication to stay healthy. Tears move across the eye when you blink to help keep the surface your eye moist and free from debris. Tears also help protect against infection and help to stabilize your vision. Without tears, you can do damage to your cornea. If you are suffering from eye irritations like burning, grittiness, blurred vision or itching you may be suffering from a medical condition called dry eye. Dry eye affects about 10 to 20 percent of the population. Call a member of our Optical Masters’ team for an eye exam and to receive treatment. The following tips can also help you treat your symptoms and support your efforts to take care of your eyes:
Use Lubricating Eye Drops. Your Optical Masters’ doctor can recommend a brand for your use.
Incorporate Eye Creams. Talk to a member of our team about eye creams that can assist with dry eye symptoms.
Add humidity with a humidifier. Increasing the humidity in your home can help with dry eye symptoms. Housing one in your bedroom is especially helpful since you spend so much time in there sleeping.
Hydrate. Drinking water can help you maintain better winter eye health on several levels. The eye is surrounded by fluid tissue which fluid, and to maintain a healthy balance of fluid in the eye it is important to stay well hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can prevent both your body and your eyes from becoming dehydrated.
Get Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 has become a byword for healthy eating in recent years as people start to appreciate how important this essential fatty acid is in a healthy diet. Omega-3 helps in the prevention of dry eyes. If you suffer from this condition, including plenty of oily fish in your diet-- such as sardines, mackerel, and tuna--will ensure that you get a plentiful supply of Omega-3 and 6, which can help to preserve your eyesight. Flax Seed Oil is also a good source for Omega-3 & 6. Omega 3; foods containing omega-3 fatty acids for good eye health.
Winter weather drives temperatures down and is often accompanied by wintry weather winds, dust, snow glare, and other eye hazards. Protect your eyes this winter from the elements by planning ahead before heading outdoors. Snowy conditions actually double the sun’s power. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV light so you are being exposed to harmful UV rays twice when you traverse on it. Reflected sunlight can burn your cornea in the winter. Ultraviolet rays can impact your eyes from above and are reflected off the snow/ice into your eyes. High-altitude winter sports (such as snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding increase your risks. UV radiation exposure rises 4-5 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level. To help safeguard your eyes from sun damage, invest in a good pair of sunglasses and goggles for winter sports. Wear sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of the UV light. Grab a hat or visor for better protection.
Winter cold kills more than twice as many Americans as does summer heat, according to a report released today by the National Center for Health Statistics(NCHS), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But winter temperatures aren’t the only component challenging your winter eye health. Weather-related traffic accidents, killing more than 7,000 Americans each year on our nation's highways, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration. Winter brings icy surfaces, ice/snow sports and increased risk for falls. To help safeguard your eyes, make sure you are wearing goggles (with UV protection) NOT sunglasses when engaging in winter sports. Goggles protect you better from flying debris kicked up from winter weather and winter activities. Be smart about what you do and how you do it.
During the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed, making them more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu or another virus. Winter is a common season for pink eye or conjunctivitis. Itchy, blurry eyes from dry eye symptoms and dry air have people touching their eyes more introducing more bacteria into their eyes than usual. Fend off bacterial eye infections by washing your eyes frequently, preventing dry eye symptoms, and doing all you can to stay healthy during the winter. This includes defending your home against winter allergens by changing furnace filters regularly, dusting often, washing sheets and bedding regularly and trying to introduce and circulate fresh air through your home as much as you can.
Colder temperatures drive more people inside and put more people behind screens--large and small. Vary your indoor activities to decrease the amount of time spent in front of a screen and give your eyes a break. If you work behind a computer, make sure you are incorporating the 20/20/20 rule to help prevent eye strain. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
Winter weather doesn’t have to adversely affect your winter eye health. Call for a consultation and exam today to prevent common winter ailments and to practice early detection of common winter eye health conditions. Our Optical Masters team is dedicated to providing you with 20/20 vision (100% sight!) and premium care. We have two convenient Denver locations to meet your needs. Give us a call today at our Leetsdale & Monaco location: (720) 782-2190, or our Evans & Federal Location: (720) 782-2190.