Taking Care of Your Eyes During Winter

March 1, 2021 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Eye Care

Eye examThe winter months bring on cooler temperatures and the potential of ice, sleet, and snow. As the weather shifts, many people find themselves changing many of their daily habits and hobbies. Whether the winter has you going outdoors to enjoy sports and recreational activities, or huddling indoors to stay warm, there are some important tips to consider in regards to eye health.

Here, eye doctors from Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic discuss some practices that assist our Detroit, Dearborn Heights, and Lincoln Park, MI, patients in taking care of the eyes during winter months.

Take Care of Dry Eyes

Winter months lead to cooler temperatures. When the temperature of the air drops, the humidity drops with it, because cold air doesn’t retain as much moisture. Many people notice that their hair and skin feel noticeably drier in the winter months, and the same may be true of the eyes, especially if someone already suffers from dry eyes.

There are several steps people can take to take care of dry eyes and restore moisture during cold winter months:

  • Blink often, especially when the eyes feel dry
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Maintain a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Run a humidifier indoors
  • Use artificial tears as needed

Keep Indoor Temperatures Moderate

It is not only the outdoor air that can be dry during the winter. To stay warm, many people turn up the heat indoors, either with a heater or fireplace. These heat sources can lead to dry air, poor air quality, and dry eyes. To minimize eye irritation, keep indoor temperatures moderate. It is also a good idea to keep some distance from direct sources of heat.

Don’t Forget Sunglasses

Most people wear sunglasses with UV protection during the summer months, but they are often neglected in the winter. It is important that people wear a quality pair of sunglasses whenever they are outdoors, even in the winter. Sunlight can reflect off the snow and create a glare that is especially harsh on the eyes. Even when the sky appears cloudy and overcast, UV rays still make their way through, so keep those sunglasses handy.

Wear Protective Goggles

Anyone who takes advantage of the snow to enjoy activities like skiing, snowboarding, or riding a snowmobile should be extra careful to protect the eyes. Besides the risk of an accident, these activities expose people to strong winds that can be damaging to the eyes. A quality pair of goggles protect the eyes from wind and injury, and many come with UV protection that also block out harmful UV rays.

Take Breaks From Electronics

People who choose to stay indoors and wait out the cold winter weather also need to be careful about protecting their eyes. Extra time indoors often leads to extra time in front of electronics, like computers, TVs, and smartphones. Screen time can dry the eyes and lead to irritation.

To avoid this risk, people should take regular breaks from bright computer screens. We suggest the 20/20/20 rule, which recommends taking the eyes off the screen every 20 minutes to focus on an object that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Contact Our Eye Clinic

No matter the weather, routine eye exams are an important part of quality eye care. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with the eye doctors at Byrd & Wyandotte Eye Clinic, send us a message online, or call (734) 284-2444 at your earliest convenience.

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