Hitting the Slopes: 4 Tips for Winter Eye Safety

You’ve got your hat, gloves, scarf, and boots to protect you from the harsh winter elements, but what’s protecting your eyes? Winter weather can strain your eyes, causing discomfort and affecting your vision. Winter eye safety is just as important as other protective gear this time of year.

During the colder months, the air is dry, and the glare from sunlight reflecting off snow can overexpose your eyes to ultraviolet light. So before you hit the slopes or head out to shovel the walk, take a few minutes to think about winter eye safety.

What’s Bothering Your Eyes This Winter?

Winter brings so many of our favorite things. Beautiful, pristine snowfalls, holidays, and cozy evenings snuggled up with a crackling fire. But it also brings many not-so-great things when it comes to eye health. Read on for the top four cold-season problems affecting your winter eye safety.

Dry Outdoor Air

Even if there’s moisture all around in the form of snow, cold winter air doesn’t hold onto moisture like it does the rest of the year. You’ve probably noticed that your skin and hair become drier during the winter. The same is true for your eyes, especially if you enjoy skiing and other outdoor winter sports. Cool, dry winter air zaps the essential moisture from your eyes, leaving them dry and irritated.

Dry Indoor Air

Your eyes can’t get a break from dry air in the winter. The heated, recirculated dry air inside your home or workplace is just as harmful as the air outdoors. Harvard Health reports that indoor air quality tends to worsen in the winter because windows are usually closed. Dust, pet dander, and other allergens stay trapped inside, constantly recirculating and blowing through the vents. This can lead to itching, watering, and redness in your eyes.

Ultraviolet Rays

Most people know that too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet increases your risk of skin cancer, but did you also know it increases your risk of developing cataracts, too? UV exposure during the winter can be harmful to both skin and eyes.

Screen Time

Spending more time indoors may also mean spending more time staring at your computer screen, phone, or television. Digital eye strain is real. It can cause fatigue, trouble focusing, blurry or double vision. It can also increase your sensitivity to light, making it even more crucial to protect your eyes from UV rays.

4 Tips for Winter Eye Safety

You can enjoy all of the fun and beauty winter has to offer without risking eye health if you take a few precautions.

1.   Wear High-Quality Sunglasses

Even on those gray winter days, it’s important to keep your eyes protected with UV-blocking sunglasses. If you wear prescription lenses or contacts, talk to your optometrist about getting a pair of prescription sunglasses.

2.   Goggle Up

Whether you’re hitting the slopes or enjoying other fast-paced winter activities, don’t forget to protect your eyes from high winds. Invest in the right type of protective sports eyewear to keep your eyes healthy and safe.

3.   Stay Hydrated

During the summer heat, it’s easy to remember the importance of drinking plenty of water. But you may not feel as thirsty in the winter. Make sure you’re still getting the recommended minimum of eight glasses of water every day. It will help keep your eyes moisturized through the dry winter months.

4.   Use Artificial Tears

For occasional eye dryness during the winter, try using artificial tears. The combination of ingredients in artificial tears can help slow the evaporation of your eyes’ natural moisture.

Talk to Your Optometrist About Winter Eye Safety

Regular eye exams are the best way to protect your eye health in any season. If you are bothered by vision problems or eye irritation in the winter, call Looking Glass Optical to schedule an examination.