Winter time presents different healthcare challenges from the rest of the year. Between peak flu and cold season and seasonal affective disorder, winter is not often kind to the body. Eyes are especially susceptible to winter-specific damage. With some forethought and a little bit of healthy lifestyle habits, you can keep your vision safe and strong.
Dry skin is a bane in winter, but your eyes are just as susceptible to dryness. The colder air is less humid, even in snowy climates. Antihistamines and cold medicine also help dry out eyes. Dry eyes can feel sore or burning, and the condition puts them at greater risk for damage from environmental irritants, like smoke from fire pits and fireplaces,, wind, and snow. Avoid rubbing your eyes, and opt for an eye lubricant or artificial tears. This is especially important for sufferers with contacts. A humidifier in the home can also help combat dry eyes.
Sunglasses are an essential part of your summer beach bag and can be equally important in winter — especially around snow. Snow reflects UV rays with far greater potency than the ocean or beach sand. Exposure to UV rays can lead to photokeratitis — sunburn of the eyes — as well as increasing your chances of structural eye changes, like cataracts, later in life. When skiing or snowboarding, consider wearing protective eyewear, like UV-blocking goggles.
Give Your Eyes a Break
Every now and then, let your eyes relax. If you work facing a screen, follow the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It reduces eye strain, and helps your eyes work better longer. Contact users can also switch to glasses every once in awhile, especially if they’re going to be somewhere with a higher amount of bacteria or contaminants in the air. Places like spas or saunas and anywhere with open flames are some of the best places to consider making the switch. Bacteria and irritants can get trapped behind contacts, leading to eye infections.
Eat Right for Your Eyes
The holidays can be a food lover’s favorite time of year, but all that feasting and desserts can present a health challenge. A poor diet can lead to a life of health issues, including diabetes. Diabetes often presents serious complications to eyesight, including cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness. Beware of going overboard on sugary foods. Likewise, certain foods benefit eyes, such as kale, salmon, legumes and oranges. Pair good foods and preventative care and you can help keep your eyes healthy and working better for years to come.