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If you’re one of those who wait whole year to see the streets powdered all white, full-swing winter is just around the corner. So, gear up with your snowboards, skates and sleds to enjoy the winter wonderland.

However, don’t forget to take good care of your eyes just as you wouldn’t forget cozying up before leaving for outside, because dry air and sun glare can take a toll on your eyes. Being careless towards your eyes can be quite problematic if you already have irritated and dry eyes.

So, here are some simple but effective winter eye care tips on how to take care of eyes through this lovely season ahead.

Factors That Can Impact Your Vision in Winter

Before we get to the eye care tips for winter specifically, let’s first get introduced with the factors that can impact your vision through winter.

1.         Outdoor Dry Air

With outdoor temperature dropping significantly in winter, the air also cools down, unable to hold as much of humidity as held otherwise through the rest of the year. During winter, cold winds blowing outside can turn out to be quite dehydrating for our skin as well as eyes, both of which need adequate moisture to remain healthy.

For our eyes, exposure to cold dry air means losing essential moisture content rapidly (due to quickened process of evaporation) through the eye surface (which is comprised of 99% water), getting irritation due to excessive dehydration.

2.         UV Radiation

Excessive UV exposure via direct sunlight is already known to increase the risk of cataracts as well as skin cancer. That’s why experts recommend resorting to sunscreens and sunglasses during prolonged outdoor activities.

The bad news is that you can get excessive UV exposure due to reflection from snowy surfaces (though not getting the sunburns necessarily!) and it is equally bad for your skin and eye health.

3.         Warm Indoor Air

Cold dry air is not the only nuisance for your eyes in winter, warm dry air indoors can also be equally (if not even more) dehydrating and damaging for your skin as well as eyes. In fact, the re-circulated indoor air is also laden even more with other dehydrating elements like ambient skin flora and bacteria.

Winter Eye Care Tips

Now, it’s about time you get to the eye care tips that can help you achieve optimal eye health even through the harshness of winter. In fact, we have divided the tips into a few categories, i.e.:

A:          Taking Care of Dry Eyes in Winter

One of the biggest issues your eyes can face during winter is the loss of moisture, but the good thing is that you can work around this problem through different ways, such as:

1:        Regulate the Temperature Indoors: As described earlier, dryness of the air can be a cause of concern in winter, especially if you already have dry eyes. The issue can escalate further due to high temperatures people usually set indoors. So, turning down your central heating to a mild temperature can be the best thing for ensuring ample moisture retention in your eyes.

2:        Blink Excessively: Many people complain of a worsening dry eye condition when they read or use computer. The reason can be quite simple; our blinking slows down when we engage in any activity requiring dedicated visual attention. One effective way to get around this problem is to blink more, so that our eyes continue to produce enough lubrication in form of tears.

3:        Use Humidifier: Defying the need of heating systems in winter is not possible, but they also result in loss of moisture in the air, which can compromise the quality of indoor air. This boosts your probability of getting dry eyes. Under such circumstances, nothing can serve better than a humidifier, not hindering with your indoor heating but still maintaining ample levels of moisture in the air to keep your eyes comfortable.

4:        Don’t Linger Around Heat Sources: In places and situations where heating is on without a humidifier, it’s better for people with dry eyes to distance themselves from heat sources like heaters and radiators.

5:        Artificial Tears Can Also Help: In case your dry eyes continue to bother you despite following these tips, you better resort to a seasoned eye doctor who can examine your eyes in detail. Quite often, they also recommend artificial tears to help you with moistening up your dry eyes. These artificial tears comprise of a specific combination of oil, mucus and water, which also helps manage rapid evaporation.

B:       Regulating Your Diet

Visual function and the elements constituting it, including your eyes, are designed to function effectively as a cohesive unit of a machine and diet happens to serve as the fuel of that machinery. So, for seamless performance of all body functions including the visual function, you better regulate your diet. Here is how:

6:       Add Cold Water Fish to Your Diet: Cold water fish are packed with omega-3 based essential fatty acids, which are considered helpful in retaining moisture in your eyes. Making cold water fish a part of your winter diet will offer your eyes much needed lubrication to survive through dehydrating winter season. Some popular cold water fish options include tuna, mackerel and halibut.

7:        Hydrating Yourself is the Key: One of the best ways to fight dry eyes during winter is to keep yourself appropriately hydrated. Experts recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water every single day to do so. Enough moisture in your eyes means fewer problems for them to run through the cold season.

C:       Outdoor Eye Care in Winter

Quite astonishingly, many people seem to take eye care for granted when they are outdoors in winter. This is a big mistake, your eyes are quite vulnerable to harm and injury when you are out there in winter. Here’s how you should take care of your eyes in winter:

8:        Resort to Quality Sunglasses: Have you ever considered the fact that it’s only the sun that seems covered by the clouds in the winter, not the UV (ultraviolet) rays? Most of us tend to pay attention to protecting our eyes with a pair of sunglasses in summer, because we’re able to observe the sun and try to get protection from UV rays emitting out of it. That’s quite understandable.

However, the sun is out there in winter as well, though mostly hidden behind the clouds, emitting the UV rays as ever and this time around, they can become even more harmful. How? Well, the cover of snow that we like to see so much in the winter reflects the UV rays back, making them even more dangerous for our eyes, because most of us remain unable to comprehend this.

So, make sure to keep your sunglasses handy even in winter, whether you’re striding down the local IKEA or planning to drive out there for more than 15 minutes.

9:        Don’t Forget Protective Eyewear: Of course, one of the best things about winter is the fun winter sports you can indulge in during this time of the year, but you don’t only encounter the enchanting blanket of snow out there, you also come across high speed winds quite often. So, why not have all the fun while also taking care of your eyes?

A pair of quality goggles can serve the purpose very well, whether you are planning to explore the snow covered surroundings on your snowmobile or feeling like to splash through the snow on your snowboards or skates. Even better would be to get a pair with built-in UV protection.

D:       Eye Hygiene

Eye hygiene is yet another way to ensure optimal eye health not only in winter, but all year round. So, let’s have a look at which aspects of eye hygiene will help you make the best of your eye wellbeing through the winter.

10:     Keep Your Eyes Clean: Most people might laugh it off, as they believe they are already at it, i.e. keeping their eyes clean and tidy, but this can get tricky with all those holidays, festivities and fun things lined up.

First off, don’t let laziness hinder with your eye hygiene. Make sure you go to bed after you’ve washed your face thoroughly, on a regular basis. If you get lazy about this simple act, quite a few things from makeup residues to sweat and germs can eventually mess up with your eye health.

Sharing is caring, fine enough, but it better not involve sharing your makeup and brushes, because you never know what the other person might have on their skin or eyes. Having a viral or bacterial eye infection at this time of the year will leave you waiting for the holidays till next year and this doesn’t sound fun, right?

11:     Keep Your Hands Busy Elsewhere: One of the biggest temptations for you to run your hands through your eyes can be those dreadful dry eyes, but that can be the worst thing to go ahead with, any time of the year.

Although you might rub your eyes with the intention of doing so only for one time in a bid to get some relief, but it is most likely to be only a temporary sort of relief. You don’t know whether or not you had some harmful bacteria or virus making its way to your eyes “that one time”.

This can give your eyes anything from conjunctivitis to so many other common eye problems. Hopefully, all this serves as a motivation enough to keep your hands busy elsewhere this winter (and all the following ones).

E:       Take Good Care of Your Eyes

In fact, this is all about it …. taking good care of your eyes in the first place. So, here are some more effective winter eye care tips for you to make some good use of:

12:     Keep a Safe Distance from Electronic Devices – Try 20:20:20 Rule: Many people tend to spend evenings out in summer, but winter somehow ends up confining most of us indoors. This means your eyes glued to laptops and screens not only through the day, but most of the evening and night as well. Add the time spent in front of TV at home during the holiday season, never getting enough of your favorite serials, seasons and latest flicks; not to mention the screen time over your mobile phone.

All this extensive screen exposure results in less of eye blinking, also reducing the amount of tears needed to be produced by our eyes, causing pain, itch and redness. If you find yourself unable to stay away for long from your beloved electronic devices, the least you can do is to incorporate 20:20:20 rule in your daily routine.

This involves removing your eyes from any screen and looking at something else at least 20 feet away from you for a minimum of 20 seconds. This helps in reducing digital eyestrain, which can eventually affect your vision negatively.

13:     Taking Care of Your Eyes from Snow-related Injuries: It doesn’t only sting and itch if you get snow in your eyes, but those eye chips can sometimes even damage your cornea as well. So, the best way to get around is to have protective goggles whenever getting engaged in any type of winter sports or some other snow-related physical activity. Similarly, you also need to shield your eyes comprehensively when you are expected to brave through a blizzard.

14:     Driving in Winter: Driving at night can always be somewhat of a challenge, but it can become even more of a daunting endeavor in long dark winter nights. Not only are roads often wet and slippery, the glaring light from oncoming vehicles can be a nuisance in snowy conditions. So, make sure your eyesight is fine enough to handle such situations. Similarly, don’t forget to check out the condition of your vehicle’s lights and windscreen; both should be clean and well functioning.

15:     A Stitch in Time Saves Nine! If you are among those who prefer rubbing off their eyes when they start to pain and itch, hoping for the best, it’s about time you start paying attention to them as soon as they start bothering you.

One of the simplest and most effective ways can be placing a damp warm cloth over them for 15 minutes. However, if you continue to experience chronic eye pain on a regular basis despite this, immediately go for an eye exam where a seasoned eye doctor can examine your eyes thoroughly and recommend a course of action.