The Effects of Winter on Your Eyesight

Keeping your eyes healthy through all four seasons is important. Many people give extra attention to their eyes in the summer because of the increased exposure to the sun. Yet winter deserves just as much precaution.

Below are some of the most common ways that winter can impact the eyes and what you can do to protect yourself from damage.

Dry, Itchy Eyes

In the winter, the air is dry thanks to artificial heat that lowers humidity levels. The windy weather also has an impact. People who wear contact lenses are even more prone to dry, itchy eyes. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to make your eyes more comfortable through winter.

First, use a humidifier in your bedroom at night. This will provide extra humidity when sleeping, and can even help with sore throats and coughing. You may also use lubricating eye drops during the day to bring extra moisture to the eyes. Blink often, and always wear UV resistant sunglasses when outdoors.

If your eyes continue to remain dry, talk to an eye specialist about taking a supplement with omega-3s, as this can help stimulate tear production. It’s also possible that the medications you rely on (i.e., antihistamines, pain relievers) are drying out your eyes.

Excessive Tearing

Not everyone has dry, irritated eyes in the winter. Some people find that they have the opposite problem and tear up constantly. These tears can be annoying and also make it more difficult to see clearly.

Use clean tissues to dab the tears from your eyes and wear protective eyewear when outdoors. Be careful of rubbing your eyes too much or using the same tissue, as this could spread infection.

Overexposure to UV Light

If you are someone who spends a lot of time outdoors in the winter snowboarding, skiing, etc., it’s crucial that you wear proper eye protection. The UV light from the sun reflects off the ice and snow, causing inflammation in the eye that is similar to sunburn. While this inflammation will heal over time, repeated incidents can lead to problems like cataracts or macular degeneration later in life.

Your eyes deserve attention year-round. Before kicking off the long winter season, make sure you have a dependable pair of sunglasses that block 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays, moisturizing eye drops and a humidifier.