If you’ve noticed some minor changes in your eye comfort, or even your vision, over the past few months, you’re not alone. With dropping temperatures comes one of the most common eye issues: dry eye. Luckily, there are many things you can do to take care of your eyes during the winter months. Keep reading to learn our best tips for winter eye care.
Why Do My Eyes Get So Dry?
First, you need to understand the causes and symptoms of dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome, or dry keratitis, is caused, as you can probably guess, by insufficient moisturizing of the eyeballs’ surface. Here are some of the root causes of this uncomfortable issue:
- Overusing contact lenses
- Infrequent blinking
- Stress on the eyes due to prolonged or improper computer use
- Working in environments with low humidity or dust
- Tobacco smoke
Winter isn’t the only season of life when you may experience dry eye. It’s also normal to experience dry eyes during menopause and when taking certain prescriptions. Even some diseases cause dry eyes, like Sjogren’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s important to figure out what is causing yours so you can take the right steps to eliminate it.
Winter Eye Care to Protect Your Vision
Sports enthusiasts, like skiers, snowmobilers, and people who just generally love snow look forward to winters when they can indulge in their favorite sports. However, they tend to overlook one important thing: eye protection. Beyond dry eye that comes with drier winter air, strong ultraviolet rays from the winter sun can harm athletes’ eyes unless they take some protective measures.
Expecting generally grey skies during this time of year, many people leave their sunglasses behind. However, UV rays can be even more dangerous in the winter because they reflect off both clouds and snow. Ski goggles are indispensable for snowmobilers and downhill skiers as they block harmful sunlight. And, they also prevent snow and debris from entering the eyes.
Likewise, fitting protection needs to be worn while shoveling snow, going for a walk in the snow, or installing or removing holiday decorations.
As we said earlier, our eyes are also more susceptible to dryness during winter. Cool and dry winter air can irritate your eyes when you are outdoors. This weather can worsen matters for people using contact lenses and make their eyes constantly dry and irritated.
While many of the conditions that cause dry eyes come from outdoor elements, it’s still very possible to feel the symptoms inside too. Heaters used during the winter can further dehumidify the already dry air, causing even more irritation for our eyes.
Though in most cases it remains mild, winter can cause extreme dryness and irritation. Especially when the affected person keeps rubbing their eyes frequently to relieve the pain. It only makes it worse!
Helpful Hints for Minimizing Winter Dry Eyes
Making slight adjustments in your routine can help you avoid these problems during the winter. By putting a few humidifiers throughout your home, you can make a difference in how your eyes feel. If you can’t get your hands on a humidifier, your best option would be to keep a jar filled with water in your room. The water will evaporate and improve humidity in the room over time.
You may also consider using eye drops like artificial tears available over the counter at local drug stores. Using these a couple of times during the day provides relief from discomfort.
A very easy and healthy way to keep your eyes and body moisturized is to drink lots of fluids. This is especially important when the weather is dry and the heating is on. People are inclined to drink more coffee during winter, but they should reduce their coffee intake as coffee contains a mild diuretic which can dry out your eyes even more.
Additionally, if you use a hairdryer, close your eyes or use an eye moisturizer before drying or styling your hair.
Adjusting your computer screen at eye level also really helps to prevent dry eyes. When you keep looking up for long intervals, the naturally produced tears from your eyes evaporate faster, leaving you with itchy, dry eyes.
How to Treat Dry Eyes
Moisture, moisture, and more moisture! Keep a bottle of artificial tears handy and use it as suggested. People with dry eyes often use them before going to bed. This will help prevent the evaporation of fluids and thus soothe the itchy, burning sensation to help your eyes recover overnight.
Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. Just take five minutes from whatever you’re doing and close your eyes. They’ll thank you for the much-needed rest!
If you wear contacts, take them out more often. If you don’t need to be wearing them, then don’t! They only increase the chances and symptoms of dry eyes.
Rubbing your eyes when they are itching and burning is certainly going to worsen the condition. Instead, use artificial tears and keep taking the recommended breaks to lessen the pain.
In most cases taking these simple steps will help protect your eyes during the winter. But don’t ignore the fact that the best way to safeguard your vision is to take appropriate care of your eyes all year long.
More Winter Eye Care Tips
Diet is the most important thing when it comes to healthy vision. But we can’t always get the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that make a difference. Vitamins A, C, and E are essentially needed for healthy eyes. Minerals like zinc, selenium, chromium, copper gluconate, and oxidants like Alpha-Lipoic Acid and Bioflavonoids are also great.
But, given the present lifestyle of most people, getting in all these essential nutrients is a challenge. They just can’t ensure that their daily diets contain all these vital nutrients for keeping their eyes strong and healthy.
So, if you can’t get what you need from eating a nutritious diet, eye vitamin supplements are important for maintaining your health and vision. Many common eye ailments like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can be treated through eye-healthy vitamins like those found in our Ocu-Plus Formula. By incorporating eye vitamins into your daily routine, you can significantly improve your vision.