It’s that time of year again.  Break out the skates, sleds, and snowboards because it’s not long before we’re living in a winter wonderland.  Winter can be a great time of year to get outside and enjoy the snow, but the sun is still out and the dry air can wreak havoc on your eyes. Without following some basic prevention tips, irritated and dry eyes can be quite debilitating.  Take care this winter with some quick winter eye health tips:

  1. Keep your eyes moist – dry winter air and indoor heating can really take a toll on the moisture level of your eyes.  Colder temperatures do not hold as much humidity, and indoor heating dries out most of the little moisture that is in the air.  You often feel your skin and lips getting drier in the winter months, but don’t forget to take care of your eyes as well.
    1. First and foremost, stay hydrated.  Keeping your eyes hydrated starts from the outside in – make sure you are drinking enough fluids.
    2. Blink more.  Really, it’s that easy.  Blinking helps your eyes stay hydrated and protected in the dry air.  
    3. Use eye drops – there are a multitude of eye drops available on the market today.  Using drops regularly can help to keep your eyes moist in dry air. Just make sure to follow the dosage instructions included with your drops, do not overuse.
    4. Use a humidifier in your home – add some moisture back to the air by using a humidifier.  While some people choose to install humidifiers on their furnaces, you can also purchase portable humidifiers for a very reasonable price at any home store.  Like staying hydrated, this option has a number of benefits in addition to eye health – such as moisturized hair and skin.
  1. Avoid irritation
    1. Don’t rub your eyes – Rubbing your eyes can lead to irritation, which gets worse in the dry winter air.  Rubbing your eyes can make them more itchy, and getting out of the cycle of running irritated eyes can be tough.  Try and keep your hands away from your face, especially if you haven’t recently washed your hands.
    2. Practice good screen health – make sure if you are working on a computer to look away and focus on a point about 20 feet away frequently during your work day.
    3. Wear your glasses more – contact lenses can be extremely convenient, but in drier climates they can also cause irritation.  Give your eyes a break and use your glasses more often.
  1. Wear Sunglasses – just because it’s cold doesn’t mean UV rays are hibernating.  Just as in summer, wear sunglasses with a UV rating to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.  If you partake in outdoor sports, make sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t see as clearly as ever.  Practice the above tips every day for a winter full of healthy vision.