Your mother has probably told you your entire childhood to put on your hat, gloves, and scarf and to bundle up for the cold. Has she warned you to protect your eyes from the cold too?
While the colder air in winter is also drier, it is not uncommon for many people to experience occasional dry eye. This eye health issue can surface in a combination of symptoms, including:
• Excessive watering
• Itchy eyes
• Double vision
• Overall discomfort
While occasional dry eye is uncomfortable, this eye health issue can lead to more severe vision issues if it is not taken seriously. These issues can include:
• A scratch on the surface of the eye (corneal abrasion)
• Corneal ulcers
• Blurred vision
• Vision loss.
Other challenges to your eyes in winter include:
• Snow glare
• Freezing wind chills
• UV rays (even on cloudy days)
To protect your eyes indoors from dry eye and allergens:
• Drink plenty of water
• Decrease caffeine
• Use preservative-free eyedrops
• Eliminate the use of ceiling fans
• Point car vents away from your face
• Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air
• Place warm compresses on your eyes to soothe them
• Blink more frequently
• Wear a sleep mask at night
• For allergens, take an over-the-counter antihistamine but increase your water intake even more.
To protect your eyes outdoors:
• Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from the wind and UV rays
• Wear a hat with a brim
• Eye injuries happen with the wind picking up debris or car tires spinning out in the snow and sending projectiles into the air.
• If you take part in outdoor winter sports, wear snow goggles or a face shield.