Top Tips to Prevent Damage to Your Eyes in the Winter
At its best, Winter can be one of the most beautiful and exciting times of the year with its glistening frosts, snowy landscapes and festive celebrations. But the colder months also come with their pitfalls.
Shorter and darker days can affect our mood and motivation and freezing temperatures can cause our skin to become dry, red, and irritated – and that’s before mentioning the abundance of colds and sniffles that seem to run amock among everyone you know.
Winter can also have damaging effects on another important, yet often overlooked, thing – your eyes.
Whether it’s cold, blustery winds, the bright Winter sun, or blasts from the central heating, our eyes go through a lot in the cold season. In fact, your eyes are typically more vulnerable to outside stresses and damage during the colder months than at any other time of the year (though that isn’t to say that Summer doesn’t carry its problems, too). [Add link to new ‘Damaged Eyes in Summer’ blog]
If you also have an eye condition, take certain medications, or wear contact lenses, the struggle can be even more significant. It is therefore important to know what you can do to protect your eyes so that you can continue to enjoy clear, healthy vision for many years to come.
1. Shield them from the Winter sun
It can be easy to overlook the power of the sun in the Winter months, but the fact is, the rays from the sky can be more powerful at this time of year than at any other. As snow and ice gather, their reflective surface strengthens the sun’s rays, making them potentially more harmful.
Exposure to UV rays from all angles (as opposed to just above) can put your eyes at extra risk of long-term damage. While it is easy to think of sunglasses as a Summer accessory, they can be just as vital in the Winter months. Be sure to pack a pair of good-quality sunglasses or goggles that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
This is particularly important if you are headed somewhere that you will be completely surrounded by snow – for example, a ski slope. Try to find eyewear that complies with “BS EN ISO 12312-1-2013” safety standards.
2. Prepare for glare while driving
Driving in the Winter can be daunting and, at its worst, outright terrifying for anyone – whether you have poor or outstanding vision. Darker days combined with slippery surfaces can create a dangerous environment for driving, but the formation of ice can also present another significant issue – glare.
Getting the sun in your eyes while driving is a common occurrence. While in the warmer months, this tends to come from one direction, ground frost and snow can leave you in an assault from all angles. When ice forms, the low-lying sun bounces off the ground and other surfaces and reflects through your car windscreen and windows.
If you are driving in these conditions, make sure your windscreen is clean on both the inside and the outside. It is also a good idea to carry a pair of (non-darkened) sunglasses to help reduce the effects of glare.
3. Limit extra strain on your eyes
Lower light conditions during the Winter can put more strain on your eyes as you struggle to perform everyday tasks such as driving and reading. What’s more, as we spend more time in the house at this time of the year, we may find that we are staring at screens more than we usually do.
To limit any extra strain on your eyes, make sure you have suitable lighting around your home. For example, place reading lamps in places where you tend to perform more up-close tasks. It is also a good idea to try and limit – or at least monitor – your screen time. A great way to do this is with the 20:20:20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take at least a 20-second break and focus your vision on something at least 20 feet away.
3. Invest in a solution to dry eyes
Having dry eyes can be a real pain at any time of the year, but things always seem to get worse during the Summer and Winter months. You can put a lot of this down to the increased use of artificial heating (or cooling) that we use during these times.
Cuddling up by the fire or the radiator can be a cosy escape from the harsh weather outside, but it may be contributing to the dryness you feel in your eyes. Regardless of the cause of your dry eyes, it is a good idea to invest in a solution that can prevent them from getting worse in the Winter.
If you are a contact lens wearer, then switching these out for your glasses could be a good option at times when your eyes are likely to be at an increased risk of drying out. If you are looking for a more long-term solution, Laser Eye Surgery could be the right option for you.
You can also consider buying some lubricating eye drops – known as “artificial tears”. These can help to keep your eyes hydrated and feeling healthy. Of course, if you have had Laser Eye Surgery at London Vision Clinic, you will receive your eye drops as part of your recovery plan.
For more information about eye health, get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators – they will be happy to help! Alternatively, to learn more about what Laser Eye Surgery could do for you, Book a Consultation today.