Winter Eye Care Tips - How to Protect Your Eyes in the Winter

‘Tis the season for eye health! Winter brings both the holidays and new situations to protect your eyes from. These winter eye care tips will make the cold weather a little easier on your eyes.

Hot and Cold

During winter, you likely use extra lotion to soothe your hands and carry a lip balm to prevent chapped lips. What do you do to treat dry eyes though? Dry eye can be an issue all year long but certain conditions relating to the cold months can make them more apparent. The air indoors is likely to be drier than in the warm months due to heaters or radiators running to keep you warm. The outdoor air can also be drier in the wintertime.

To counteract this, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to your home’s air flow. You may also benefit from lubricating eye drops. If you wear contact lenses, you might experience dry eyes. Your eye doctor should be able to recommend a product, either eye drops or a lens solution. This will keep your eyes moist and your contact lenses comfortable to wear.

Fun in the Sun… and Snow

Are you someone who looks forward to winter activities and sports? Whether you’re an avid skier or snowboarder or you just like to go sledding with family, one of the dangers of being outside isn’t even the snow (technically). The same UV rays from the sun that your eyes need protection from during the warm summer are still around during the cold winter. On the contrary, if there is snow on the ground, the amount of UV rays you’re exposed to can be as much as double as is present during the summer months.

How? The bright sun reflects off the white surface of the snow which magnifies the rays and makes them even stronger. Snow blindness occurs when your eyes are overloaded with UV rays, causing temporary loss of vision. If you’re planning a ski trip, part of your gear should include goggles to reflect the sun. Even if it’s just the driveway that needs shoveling (while you dream of a ski trip), putting on a pair of sunglasses will stop the snow blindness.

Sights on Flu Season

Does cold air really make you sick? Despite what your mother told you, the answer is no. It’s just a popular myth. However, more people really do get sick in winter due to a variety of factors. Dry air (both indoors and outdoors), poor ventilation in homes, and interacting with large groups of people (whether going back to school or enjoying holiday gatherings) all contribute to the prevalence of sickness in the wintertime.

What does this have to do with your eyes? Being careful regarding your eye hygiene is a vital step in preventing, getting, or giving the gift of the flu during the holidays. When in public, avoid touching or rubbing your eyes as this can spread germs which lead to illness. The flu virus can survive two hours (or more) on everyday surfaces like doorknobs and table tops. Touching one of these infected items before rubbing your eyes introduces the virus to your immune system very quickly.

Washing your hands often and being aware of when you are touching your eyes goes a long way toward avoiding illness. It’s worth noting you might not feel the need to rub your eyes often if they are properly moisturized.

These eye care tips can help make the winter months more comfortable for your eyes and help you to enjoy the season.

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