The winter months can take a surprising toll on your eye health. For most people, their eye health is probably one of the last things on their mind during the long winter months – but winter eye care is more important than most people realize. Damaging sun reflections off snow and dry indoor air conditions can irritate your eyes and impair your vision – follow these precautions to keep your eyes healthy and happy this winter!
Indoor Air Conditions
Once of the most common complaints for our eyes in the winter is dryness, and subsequent burning or itchiness. The winter usually causes lower humidity levels in your home or work when the heat is on and the windows are closed. Those who wear contact lenses are more likely to experience this problem, but it can affect anyone. Sometimes, people with this issue complain initially of eyes that water too much – this is cause because their eyes are not tearing as they should when they get dry and irritated, and are therefore watering too much. Over time, dryness can cause blurred vision or can damage the cornea.
To avoid this issue, you can follow a few steps:
- Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated;
- Use an air humidifier;
- Carry eye drops with you;
- Try blinking more often.
If you plan to spend several hours outdoors in the winter – whether that be skiing, skating, or shovelling snow – exposure to UV light from the sun’s reflection on the snow or ice can cause damage to the eye’s surface, and cause an inflammation of the cornea. This can make the eyes red, sore, sensitive, and may require antibiotics to prevent infection. Too much exposure to UV light also plays a key role in the development of cataracts, which affect vision.
To avoid damage from outdoor glare, follow these steps:
- Wear sunglasses that protect against the UV light;
- When skiing, wear goggles with polycarbonate lenses;
- Limit your time outdoors – especially if you’ve forgotten eye protection and it is sunny or bright outside.
Additionally, getting laser vision correction ahead of the winter season can be a great idea to improve your enjoyment of the winter activities that you love, as it would mean no rain or fog on your glasses – just clear vision so you can focus on your favorite winter sport.
If you plan to spend time outdoors this winter, plan ahead to help avoid eye problems. They may not be bothering you now, but protecting your eyes from the winter weather can help to avoid long-term issues.