Winter brings with it a magical world of snow-covered landscapes and cozy nights by the fireplace. At the same time, however, winter can also cause a lot of problems and challenges for our eyes.
According to the Eye Center of Texas, in winter, the cold and dry air and shorter daylight hours can all impact our eye health. The cold temperature, too, can directly make our eyes watery at times. At times, our eyes can also become a bit too dry due to the dry winter air. Thus, during winter, our eyes need special attention and care due to the complicated nature of the problems they have to deal with.
To ensure your eyes stay comfortable and healthy during the winter season, follow these six essential tips for eye care.
#1 Moisturize Your Eyes
One of the most significant challenges your eyes face during winter is the dry air. Indoor heating systems, combined with cold outdoor air, can lead to low humidity levels, resulting in dry eyes. Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning, redness, and blurred vision.
To combat this issue, consider using artificial tears or eye drops designed to lubricate and moisturize your eyes. These drops can help keep your eyes comfortable and prevent them from becoming dry and irritated.
Make sure to choose eye drops that are preservative-free to minimize the risk of further irritation. You wouldn’t want to risk getting your eyes hurt, as was seen during the EzriCare lawsuit.
According to TorHoerman Law, the EzriCare Artificial Tears, used on dry eyes, were found to have potential bacterial contamination. This led to many problems like vision loss, eye infection, and bacterial infection. As a result, the US FDA recalled the product. Thus, be very careful when selecting eye drops and make sure they’re FDA-approved and safe to use.
#2 Wear Protective Eyewear
Winter is synonymous with outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. While these activities are fun, they also expose your eyes to increased risks, such as bright sunlight, snow glare, and wind. The reflection of the sun’s UV rays off the snow can be particularly harsh on your eyes.
To protect your eyes, wear quality sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV protection. Polarized lenses are an excellent choice for reducing glare from snow and ice. Additionally, consider wearing goggles when engaging in winter sports to shield your eyes from wind, debris, and potential injuries.
You can find good polarized glasses on Amazon between $12 and $30. Goggle sunglasses will also cost you something within that range.
#3 Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your diet plays a vital role in supporting overall eye health, and this remains true during the winter months. Cold weather often leads to a decrease in the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in essential vitamins and antioxidants.
To promote healthy eyes, make a conscious effort to include foods that are good for your eye health in your winter diet. The foods you eat should have high quantities of vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. Your diet should include items like carrots, spinach, salmon, and other nutritious foods.
Under special circumstances, you can also consider taking omega-3 or vitamin D capsules. However, do so only after consulting a healthcare professional.
#4 Stay Hydrated
When your body is dehydrated, it can affect your tear production, leading to dry eyes and discomfort. To stay adequately hydrated, aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Drink more if you engage in physical activities or spend a lot of time indoors with heated, dry air.
Herbal teas and warm water with a slice of lemon can also be soothing and help you meet your hydration goals. Remember that caffeine and alcohol can have a dehydrating effect, so try to consume them in moderation and balance them with water intake.
#5 Take Regular Breaks from Screen Time
During the winter, with shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures, many people spend more time indoors and in front of screens. However, this only hurts your eyes even more.
Reid Health suggests that adults should limit their screen time to just two hours outside of work. For children, this screen time reduction needs to be more significant. With more focus on physical learning and activities, parents need to limit their kids’ screen time to under two hours.
Even during the suggested screen time, it’s advisable to take regular breaks. Simply look away from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds or so before you turn back to it. The more breaks you take, the more rest your eyes get.
#6 Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Don’t neglect your routine eye check-ups, even during the winter months. Regular eye exams are essential for detecting and addressing potential issues early on. Your eye care professional can check for conditions like dry eye syndrome, cataracts, etc., which can all affect your vision and eye health.
Furthermore, your eye doctor can provide personalized recommendations to address any specific concerns you may have about your eyes during the winter season. Whether it’s adjusting your prescription glasses or recommending specialized eye drops, they can help you maintain optimal eye health.
Like winter skincare, winter eye care is a thing as well. Thus, as winter approaches, keep these tips in mind to keep your eyes healthy. Taking care of them in the ways discussed above will help you make it through winter without any sort of eye problems or diseases.