Winter Eye Protection

Winter eye protection requires steps to minimize extreme dryness.

During the winter, heating systems can reduce humidity levels because most hearing systems heat the air without adding moisture and cold winter air has a lower capacity to hold moisture, this combination can cause wintertime dry eyes. Damaging UV rays are present all year long and snow can reflect more UV radiation back from the ground to your eyes.

Here are some tips to help you protect your eyes during the winter months:

Protect your eyes from UV rays: Wear sunglasses that block 100% UVA and UVB rays to shield your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays are still present in winter and the reflection off snow can intensify exposure.

Moisturize Your Eyes: Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to combat dryness caused by indoor heating systems and cold outdoor air. This is particularly important if you spend extended periods of time in heated environments.

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to maintain overall hydration, which can help prevent dry eyes. Dry air indoors and cold winds outdoors can contribute to dehydration.

Adjust Indoor Humidity: Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home or workplace. Running an indoor humidifier can help prevent the air from becoming too dry.

Limit Exposure to Indoor Heating: Avoid sitting too close to heating vents or other sources of warm, dry air. Direct exposure to indoor heating systems can contribute to dry eyes.

Blink Regularly: Remember to blink frequently, especially if you spend a lot of time looking at screens. Blinking helps distribute tears and keeps the surface of your eyes moist.

Protect Your Eyes from Wind: Wear wraparound sunglasses or goggles on windy days to shield your eyes from harsh cold winds that can cause irritation and dryness. Another strategy for protecting your eyes from cold winter winds is to wear a hat with a brim or a hood.

Give Your Eyes Breaks: Follow the 20-20-20 rule when working on a computer or reading for extended periods. Take a break every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to reduce eye strain.

Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands regularly to reduce the risk of eye infections, which can be more common during the winter months.

If you experience persistent or severe eye discomfort, redness, or vision changes, consult with an eye care professional for a thorough examination and appropriate guidance.

Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director
The Eye Professionals

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