Most people know that their eyes deserve extra protection in the summer, but they don’t realize this same protection is needed in the winter. It doesn’t need to be a hot, sunny day for the sun to cause damage. Cold, overcast days can be just as damaging to the eyes. In fact, snow intensifies this damage because of the reflections coming off the white snow.
As we head into the winter months, take a few minutes to read up on the various reasons why you should protect your eyes during snow season.
Keep wearing sunglasses. The clouds don’t block UV rays.
Stock up on a few pairs of sunglasses for the winter (they should block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays). The clouds don’t block out the sun’s UV rays, which means they can still cause damage. If there is snow on the ground, wearing sunglasses is even more important. The white color reflects light, and this light is directed straight into your eyes. Also, don’t look directly at the snow.
Wear sports goggles during winter activities. This prevents UV damage and injuries.
If you enjoy sledding, snowboarding or skiing in the winter, make sure that you have the proper sports goggles. Many people will gear up when going on a ski trip, but they’ll go sledding or shovel the driveway without proper eye protection. Winter eyewear protects your eyes from injuries caused while outdoors. It also protects them from UV damage and harsh winds that can dry out the eyes.
Use moisturizing eye drops to manage dryness and irritation.
The combination of low humidity and cold temperatures produces dry air. Winter is a prime time for dry, itchy skin and irritated eyes. Just as you probably use more moisturizers on your skin in the winter, you may have to use rewetting eye drops for your eyes. These drops can be used as needed to replenish moisture.
Keep your hands away from your face. This prevents conjunctivitis and other illnesses.
Your eyes are a gateway into your body. If they are dry and irritated, you’re more likely to rub them. Unfortunately, the more you touch your eyes, the more likely you are to get pink eye and other contagious viruses. Wash your hands throughout the day and keep them away from your face. If your eyes are itchy, use eye drops to relieve the symptoms.
Taking these extra precautions go a long way in keeping your eyes healthy through the winter season. Before long, we’ll be discussing ways to fight the irritation that comes from spring allergies!