Winter can be one of the worst times for your eyes. Why? Because we’re usually cooped up inside our houses or offices that suddenly turn into high heat, low humidity environments. Which our bodies are not accustomed to and don’t particularly enjoy! We thought we’d share some basic eye care tips for the winter, many of which you might not have considered before.
Remember to Blink
Blinking is your body’s natural way of lubricating and cleaning your eyes! As you blink, you distribute your eye’s natural moisture and gently wipe away any dirt or dust that has accumulated on your eyes. As you know, dust loves hot, dry rooms, so it’s more important than ever to blink and give your eyes a rest, especially in the office where you’re tempted to stare at your screen without a break!
Keep the Temperature Mild
As tempting as it is to blast the heat, that hot, dry air will irritate your eyes. We suggest keeping the temperature mild; comfortable but not sweltering. Not only will this make your eyes happy, but it’ll save you some money in the process! What temperature do we suggest? Somewhere in the low 70s, where the classic “room temperature” range lies.
Use a Humidifier
No matter how much or how little you heat your home or office in the winter, you’re guaranteed to suffer from a dry environment no matter what. To put it simply, winter is an incredibly dry season especially in New England. To combat that, we suggest you invest in a good quality humidifier. What this does is introduce moisture into the air, making your eyes and skin happy! Not only that, but more humid air allows heat to travel more efficiently, giving your space a more “comfortable” feeling even at lower temperatures.
“Artificial Tears” Work
Artificial tears are pH-balanced substances that you can put in your eyes to aid their natural lubrication. We suggest a saline-based product with as few ingredients as possible. It’s important to remember that “red-eye” products like Visine will make your dry eyes worse, so make sure you buy a product that is specifically for lubricating your eyes.
Keep the Heat at a Distance
As much as it feels good to cozy up next to your space heater, fireplace, or radiator, we advise that you keep direct heat sources at a distance. That’s because the proximity of that direct heat will wreak havoc on your eyes’ natural lubrication by quickly drying out the surface.
You’re simply not as thirsty in the winter as you are in the summer because you’re not sweating nearly as much, or even exerting yourself as often. However, it’s important to hydrate just as frequently even when you’re not feeling it. A hydrated body means hydrated eyes; it’s that simple!
Continue to Wear Sunglasses
Even with frequent cloud cover and shorter days, the sun is still as harmful to your body as in the summertime. UV-A and UV-B rays will penetrate that cloud cover like it’s nothing and hit your body all the same. Without a good quality pair of sunglasses (make sure they’re rated to block both UV-A and UV-B radiating), that UV radiation will penetrate your eyes causing lasting damage. Think of how prolonged sun exposure affects a person’s skin, now apply that logic to your eyes!
Wear Eye Protection When Skiing, Etc.
The snow is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s skiing, snowboarders, tubing, ice skating, or any other snow sport. However, snow and ice are surprisingly sharp, even as the micro scale! As you play these sports, the spray of snow and ice hitting you in your face can scratch your eyes even if you don’t feel it. That is exactly why pro athletes wear goggles when playing these sports.
Winter is Hard on Your Eyes!
Have we convinced you? Winter is hard on your eyes! It can be a cozy time of curling up with a book or a time for adventuring through the ice or snow. Either way, it’s hard to escape the effects this season has on your eye health. However, if you follow our advice you should be just fine.
Of course, if you’re suffering from any change in your eyesight (even subtle changes), or feel like your eyes are excessively dry, then give us a call and schedule an appointment as soon as you can.