Cold Weather Eye Care Tips
It’s that time of year where there may be frost on the window, or a snowman in the yard; the sunlight is short, and the evenings are long… hopefully spent snuggled under a blanket by a cozy fire. But winter also brings windy days, less humidity and dry eyes.
Dry eye occurs when the eye doesn’t produce tears properly, or when those tears evaporate too quickly – and is very common during the winter months. Dry eyes can itch, burn, sting, or feel scratchy or irritated; and can result in headaches, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, and eventually damage to the eye.
Tips to Keep Your Eyes Happy and Healthy This Winter:
Stay Hydrated. Cold weather can dry out your eyes, just as it can your skin. Staying hydrated, by sipping water throughout the day, is one of the best things you can do to help your body fend off dry eyes.
Run a Humidifier. Running a humidifier in the areas of your home where you spend the most time adds moisture to the air, helping to reduce – or even prevent – dry eye symptoms.
Distance Yourself from Heat Sources. Avoid sitting next to heat sources that blow directly in your face. When in the car, direct the heat down toward your body and away from your eyes (seat warmers, anyone?).
Use Eye Drops. Using over-the-counter eye drops can provide temporary relief from discomfort. But be wary of using these too much, as overuse can actually wash away your eye’s own natural tears, making your eyes even drier.
Increase Your Intake of Omega-3s. Did you know that omega-3s may help improve the eye’s production of oil for tears, while also reducing inflammation around the eye? Omega-3s can be found in the skin of fatty fishes like mackerel, tuna and salmon, and in flax and chia seeds, walnuts, and palm and soybean oil.
Give Your Eyes a Break. Protect your eyes from too much screen time by remembering the 20-20-20 rule – take a 20-second break from your digital device every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away.
Wear Your Glasses, Rather Than Contacts. Combine cold, windy weather with central heating, and contacts can get pretty uncomfortable. Switching things up by designating a few hours out of the day to wear your eyeglasses can give your eyes a much-needed break.
Reduce Indoor Allergens. Washing your bedding weekly in hot water, changing your air filters regularly and dusting frequently can help reduce allergens such as dust mites, mold and pet dander, helping to lessen dry eye symptoms.
Lastly, Don’t Forget that Sunglasses Aren’t Just for Summer! Did you know that snow and ice can give your eyes a sunburn? Snow blindness (photokeratitis) is a painful eye condition caused by overexposure to UV light, causing a feeling of burning or itching. Prevent photokeratitis by wearing sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.
Small changes can have a huge impact on your eyes and your overall health, and an in-person, comprehensive eye exam is the simplest step you can take to protect vision and ensure an early diagnosis of common vision problems.
(And, just in case you were wondering… )
Here are 10 Reasons Winter is More Fun Without Glasses:
- Masks and scarves = NO FOG!
- Winter sports ( …need I say more?).
- Movie date night (THIS is what 3D actually looks like?!).
- Workouts (without worries).
- Enjoying a cup of coffee on your crisp morning walk.
- Stylish (non-prescription) sunglasses.
- Beat spring allergies before they get here.
- Tax returns (see #9… ).
- Dreams of summer vacation.
- Easy mornings.
Are you ready to say goodbye to those glasses and/or contacts yet? Contact us today at (828) 304-6611 for a FREE consultation to see which vision correction option is right for you.
R.E. “Trey” Oursler, III, MD | Refractive Surgeon at Graystone Eye
Dr. Oursler obtained his bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and attended Wake Forest University Medical School. He completed his ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, and a LASIK fellowship at the Barnet-Dulaney Eye Center in Phoenix, AZ. He has performed over 50,000 refractive procedures, including iLASIK, Surface Laser Correction, and Refractive Lens Exchange; and is consistently listed among the Top 50 Visx® LASIK surgeons in the country.