During winter, many spend time indoors warming and cozying up or going out for some outdoor activities. No matter what you prefer to do during the colder months, do not forget about your eye health. Keep in mind that the air is dryer during winter, which can mean problems for your eyes. It is the same with the glare that the sun produces or when sunlight hits the snow.
Read on to learn what your eyes are up against during winter and how you can keep them protected from a local optician.
What Your Eyes Are Up Against in Winter
Too much or extended exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase not only the risk of skin cancer but also developing cataracts. Specialists recommend wearing sunscreen and eyeglasses when heading outside or participating in outdoor activities. You can experience prolonged UV exposure from the reflection of snowy surfaces, which is detrimental to your skin and eyes.
Dry Outdoor Air
The outdoor temperatures drop dramatically during winter, and as the air cools down, it won’t be able to hold as much moisture as it could in other seasons. The cool air can be extremely drying for both your skin and eyes, which both require enough moisture to stay nourished. Cool dry air can cause your eyes to lose essential moisture quicker because of the faster dehydration process. When your eyes are extremely dehydrated, your eyes can get irritated.
Warm Indoor Air
Just like outdoor air, warm indoor air can be just as drying and harmful for your eyes and skin. The air that recirculates around your home can contain a lot of other dehydrating elements, such as bacteria, and ambient skin flora.
Lighting is extremely important for people who will be working from home this winter. With bright light, your eyes will be more comfortable, and you will see more clearly. On the other hand, when the light is dim, you might find the need to wear your glasses more. What you can do is sit close to a window during the day for better lighting.
Longer Screen Time
As you are working at home, you might find that your screen time is higher. While there is no evidence suggesting that increased screen time harms your eyesight, it can be tiring to stare at your computer screen for hours. If you don’t take a break, you can experience digital eye strain or eye discomfort.
How to Take Care of Your Eyes This Winter
Regulate Your Indoor Temperature
If you already have dry eyes, the more you need to regulate your indoor temperature. The higher your indoor temperature is, the more drying the air will be. To ensure your eyes and skin retain the moisture they need to stay hydrated, turn down your central heating to a mild temperature.
Use a Humidifier
You can’t avoid using your heating system during winter. To prevent your indoor air from getting too dry, you can use a humidifier. Using this equipment will also improve your indoor air quality. By humidifying your living spaces, you can maintain good moisture levels in the air to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.
Dry eye is a common problem during the colder months. You usually experience this condition while using digital devices or reading. People tend to develop dry eyes while participating in a task that requires dedicated visual attention. Make blinking a habit to avoid your eyes from drying out. The more you blink, the more your eyes produce moisture for lubrication.
Don’t Stay Near Heat Sources
In parts of your home where there is heating but no humidifier, avoid staying near heat sources, such as heaters and radiators. If you have dry eyes, the more you need to stay away from these kinds of equipment.
Use Artificial Tears
If you have followed the earlier tips and still experience dry eyes, it is best to get an eye examination from a professional. Your eye doctor may recommend artificial tears to ease discomfort and moisten your eyes. Artificial tears usually contain a certain combination of oil, mucus, and water, helping slow down evaporation.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat can affect your eyes as well, so it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. A great addition to your daily meals is cold-water fish. Coldwater fishes are rich in omega-3 based essential fatty acids, which helps in retaining moisture in your eyes. Adding them to your diet can help in keeping your eyes hydrated during the colder months. Among the most known cold-water fishes are tuna, mackerel, and halibut.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to prevent and combat dry eyes during winter. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water every day. When your eyes are moisturized, the less likely they will encounter problems during the colder months.
Wear Protective Eyewear When Necessary
There are a lot of fun sports and activities during winter. Before you participate in any of these, you should wear the right protective eyewear. Besides a reflective blanket of snow, you will also face high winds. It pays to invest in high-quality googles if you’re planning to explore snow-covered environments or navigating the snow on your skates or snowboards. If you can find a part that comes with UV protection, the better.
Go for High-Quality Sunglasses
Even if the weather is overcast or the sky is cloudy, you should still wear UV-blocking sunglasses when heading outside. Summer is not the only season that calls for wearing sunglasses. UV rays are even more harmful during winter. It’s because blankets of snow reflect UV rays, which is dangerous to the eyes.
Practice Proper Hygiene
Today, proper hygiene is more important than ever. During the holiday season, people tend to be too busy to think about keeping their eyes clean. Make sure to remove your makeup at the end of the day and wash your face. Left-over makeup, sweat, and germs can all contribute to poor eye health.
As much as possible, avoid sharing your makeup and brushes because you don’t know what the other person might have on their eyes or skin. A viral or bacterial eye infection is the last thing you want to have during the colder months.
Take a Break From Your Digital Devices
Prolonged exposure to digital devices can result in digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome (CVS). This eye condition is characterized by eye strain, pain on the shoulders, neck, and back, dry eye, eye redness, and double or blurred vision.
If you need to use your computer for hours, you should give your eyes a break every now and then. A simple thing to do is to follow the 20-20-20 rule, where you look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Proper posture and viewing distance are also important in avoiding CVS.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Getting an eye exam regularly goes a long way in maintaining good vision and eye health. It does not matter what season it is, you should still have your eyes routinely checked. Routine eye exams can help with the early detection and treatment of different vision-threatening eye conditions.