Whether you love winter or hate it, there is no doubt that the sudden influx of cold weather can wreak havoc on our health and bodies. This includes our eyes which are delicate and easily affected by changes in our environment. Fortunately, there are actions we can take to prevent the negative effects winter weather can have on the health of our eyes.
Preventing Dry Eyes
Dry eyes are a fairly common affliction that can be caused by many factors including wearing contact lenses, laser eye surgery and prolonged use of a screen. However, it is more often diagnosed during the winter months. This is because when it’s cold outside, we ramp up the heat in our homes, reducing the humidity levels inside and causing the air—and our eyes—to dry out. When you suffer from dry eyes, you may find that your eyes feel itchy or irritated. Many people report feeling a sensation of a foreign object in one or both eyes.
There are a few ways you can help prevent dry eyes from winter weather. First, keep your eyes moist by using artificial tears. These will replace some of your natural lubrication, help prevent your natural tear layer from evaporating too fast and make moving your eyes more comfortable. Second, try and keep the heat in your home turned down as low as is comfortable, and consider installing a humidifier on your HVAC to maintain a more desirable humidity level. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and blink more often when your eyes feel particularly dry.
Winter Environment and Your Eyes
Frequent or prolonged exposure to bitterly cold air and wind can also dry your eyes out and cause discomfort. UV damage caused by the sun is also just as likely in the winter as it is in the summer, so it’s important to try prevent it year-round. Sunlight can cause irreversible damage to your retina and the lens of your eye. It can also put you at increased risk of developing ocular conditions such as macular degeneration or cataracts. Experts recommend wearing glasses/sunglasses wherever possible to help protect your eyes from both UV rays and harsh winter weather.
Driving in Winter
Winter weather can bring unique driving challenges that could cause you to experience problems with your vision. One of these challenges is dealing with the sun, which sits much lower in sky in the winter, potentially rendering car visors useless. The glare of the sun also seems much brighter, particularly when it is reflected off of ice and snow. Our pupils contract and become smaller when exposed to bright lights, essentially n arrowing our field of vision. Always remember to wear sunglasses when driving in these conditions to avoid permanent damage do your eyes.
If you would like more advice on the best ways to protect your eyes from cold, dry winter weather, our expert team would be happy to provide advice tailored to your specific eye-care needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!