In these long dark days of winter, we don’t think of eye care as a huge concern. We wrap ourselves up against the cold and take remedies to ward off colds and flu, and often forget about protecting our eyes. However, the winter weather can have a negative impact on your eyes, even more so than the summer! Winter sun, although we see little of it, can emit harsh rays that can damage the eyes, so it’s important take care of your peepers at this time of year as much as any other.
Risks in winter
1. The air indoors – central heating
We stay indoors a lot over the winter, often dashing from one dry, warm place to the next. Work to the gym, gym to home and so on. Central heating causes dehydration and this is just as bad for your eyes as it is for your skin. When you turn on your heating, the cold, dry air from outdoors is heated up and forced indoors. As we rarely open windows on cold days, the hot, dry air is circulated, which breeds bacteria that aren’t found outdoors. This can cause discomfort and even infections in your eyes from the germs that grow in the air.
2. The air outdoors
When the temperature drops, the air no longer holds as much humidity as it does in warmer months. The water vapours that may appear can’t be retained by colder air. Cold winter winds can dry out the eyes, as they need plenty of moisture to stay healthy. The surface of the eye is 99% water, so they need to stay hydrated as much as possible to avoid irritation.
3. Reflected UV rays
We protect our eyes in summer with sunglasses but why not in winter? Just because you can’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean it is isn’t there. UV rays can be reflected from snow and icy surfaces, so the same rays that cause cataracts are still present in winter. This is a threat that people forget, but it’s ever present.
How to combat these risks
Although this time of year can play havoc with your skin and eyes, there are some things you can do to help reduce the risks:
- Blink more: It sounds simple and even silly, but blinking more helps moisten your eyes. If you have to focus on a task that requires you to concentrate, be conscious of blinking more. You’ll often find at work that your eyes become dry if you’re gazing at the computer, and now you have an easy solution.
- Moisten your eyes: Another way to improve the dry air at home or work is to use a humidifier or place some green plants around the place. If you need some eye drops, David Paul Opticians can recommend some right for you.
- Wear sunglasses: If you are spending anytime outdoors or driving, get some sunglasses with proper UV protection. This will protect you from the sun’s rays but also the drying effects of the winter wind.
- Consider wearing eyeglasses more frequently than contact lenses. Regular eyeglasses do a better job of protecting your eyes from the cold winter winds and can even help hold heat and moisture close to the eyes.
Winter or summer, choose David Paul Opticians
If you have any questions about how to protect your eyes any time of year, David Paul Opticians can help. To get an eye test or address any other eye needs, call us on 01442 879 303 or email email@example.com