During the winter months, many of us layer up to stay warm, leaving very little skin exposed. But what about our eyes? The cold and dry air can irritate our eyes, leading to an itchy, burning sensation and occasionally blurred vision. While we layer up with sweaters and scarves, it’s important to remember these additional tricks to protect your vision.
Just because it is no longer summer does not mean that you should put your shades away. If you live where there is a lot of snow, sunlight reflected off the snow can actually damage your vision. For snowboarders and skiers alike, it’s important to wear protective lenses, such as polarized sunglasses, as UV radiation exposure increases approximately 5 percent for every 1,000 feet of elevation.
Slow Down On Screen Time
If you work in an office job, it’s important to note that staring at a computer screen and forgetting to blink can actually cause dryness, and not just during the winter. For those who sit at a computer for the majority of the day, a good rule of thumb is to focus on something else in the room every 20 minutes. By shifting your attention to something new you will remember to blink normally which will help relieve dryness.
Drink a Lot of Water
While drinking plenty of water is a generally a healthy practice, it’s even more crucial to maintaining eye health during the winter. By drinking more water, you are replenishing fluids that will help lubricate your eyes. This will make a huge difference if you are spending any time outside in the dry and/or windy conditions.
Eat More Fish
Eating fish, like trout, tuna, salmon and mackerel that contain high amounts of beneficial oils, and nutrients can be beneficial to your vision. Fish oils can also be found in vitamins and supplements.
Use a Humidifier
Adding a humidifier to your home in winter can help improve the dry air conditions that irritate the eyes. Adding moisture to the air can relieve the burning sensation or itchiness in your eyes. Something as simple as a bowl of water near a heat source can change the humidity in a room.
Use Artificial Tears – Drops & Gels
Your pharmacy carries a variety of artificial tears ranging from drops to gels that can provide significant relief to dry eye conditions. Consult with your pharmacist if you are looking for alternatives for daytime or nighttime use.
If you are concerned about your eye health this winter, please talk with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.