For people who suffer from chronic issues of itchy or dry eyes, the winter months can be especially difficult. And even if you don’t suffer from eye pain during the majority of the year, the cold and snow can bring on new problems that may hinder your sight and make your eyes uncomfortable.
Fortunately, however, there are several easy techniques you can use to combat dry eyes and keep your sight healthy during the winter months. Use the tips below to keep your eyes happy and healthy this winter.
Keep moisture in.
The air is very dry in the winter, which makes it hard for your eyes to produce tears. An easy way to combat this is to use rewetting eye drops when you feel your eyes getting dry. You can purchase drops for an affordable price at your local convenience store or speak with your eye doctor about getting prescription drops if the dryness is very painful or persistent.
Distance yourself from heat sources.
Most people have their heat on in the winter, which can be another cause of dry eyes. Luckily, sitting further away from heaters or radiators can make a huge difference for your eyes. Another solution is to use a humidifier, which helps regulate airflow in a room and keeps your eyes comfortable and happy.
Take a break from electronic devices.
Lots of people spend most of their workday staring at a computer screen. And when you add the winter cold into the mix, most of us are more likely to stay bundled up inside in front of the TV or on our phones. While this may keep you warm, looking at electronics for an extended period of time causes us to blink less. This in turn keeps our eyes from producing tears, which can cause pain and redness. Practice the 20-20-20 rule, where every 20 minutes you look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This can help reduce digital eyestrain and actually keep your vision from deteriorating.
Don’t forget sunglasses.
Although it may seem like the sun disappears in the winter, UV rays do not. We wear sunglasses in the summer to keep harmful UV rays overhead from entering our eyes, but with snow on the ground, these rays can reflect off the ground, which makes it even more important to keep your eyes protected in the winter. Be diligent about wearing protective glasses whenever you’re driving or outside for more than 15 minutes. On especially bright days, adding a hat with a brim can help reduce almost 100% of the harmful effects produced by the sun.
Regulate your diet.
Just like the rest of your body, your eyes feel better if you put the correct fuel into your system to keep them functioning properly. Eating healthy does not only help improve your vision, but can also keep your eyes from feeling achy or drying out. Drinking water and staying hydrated will help keep moisture in your eyes, and adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet will help improve their overall function.
Treat them when they start to hurt.
If your eyes are bothering you after a long day at work, don’t just rub them and hope they start to feel better. Place a warm damp cloth over your eyes for 15 minutes for an easy treatment. If you experience chronic eye pain on a daily basis, schedule a visit to your eye doctor so he or she can treat your individual needs.
Invest in eye goggles.
If you frequently participate in outdoor winter sports, high wind speeds can irritate and pull moisture out of your eyes. This can blur your vision and even leave your eyes susceptible to dirt and debris. Find goggles that cover both of your eyes easily and have built-in UV protection.
If your eye pain or irritation persists throughout the winter months, it’s best to see a doctor so they can make sure you are getting the proper treatment you need. Reach out to your Williamson Eye Institute doctor for any questions or advice on the best way you can help protect your eyes this winter.
At Williamson Eye Institute, we are committed to preserving and protecting our patients’ eye health throughout their lives. To find out more, visit our website or call our office to schedule a personal consultation. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.