During the wintertime, most people put more time and effort into keeping themselves warm than thinking about eye care. However, your eyes are even more susceptible to irritation and injury in the winter than the rest of the year. So while you’re outside enjoying the snow, running errands, or cozying up to the fire with a hot cup of cocoa, it’s a good idea to take a few eye care precautions. Here are a few tips from the eye care experts that you can use to avoid the dry eyes wintertime blues:

Keep Your Eyes Moist

Harsh weather conditions such as cold, heavy winds reduce the natural moisture fund in your eyes. As a person’s eyes dry out, they tend to experience a burning or itching sensation.  They may even feel like there is something in their eye. This usually causes a person to rub or scratch their eyes, which causes even more irritation. For some people, as their eyes dry out, their body tries to compensate with extra moisture. This can lead to excessive tearing of the eye.

It’s is not only the cold harsh outside weather than can damage your eyes. Warm, dry air indoors can draw the moisture out of your eyes as well. Indoor heat sources tend to dry out the surrounding air. Try sitting further away from heat sources to minimize the impact they have on your eyes. You can also use a humidifier to help add some of the moisture back into the air.

To help keep your eyes comfortably moist, you can apply eye drops or artificial tears during the day. You should also drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to maintain the moisture in your entire body, including your eyes. If possible, avoid rubbing your eyes, especially of your hands are not clean. Rubbing your eyes only leads to more irritation. At worst, germs on your hands can lead to eye infections such as conjunctivitis. If you must rub your eyes, make sure your hands are clean first. This will at least minimize the chance that you will carry an infection to your eyes.

Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses!

Even though it’s cooler outside, and the sun doesn’t seem to feel as warm or shine as brightly, it can still cause damage to your eyes. The sun emits UV radiation no matter how brightly it shines. In addition to the sun, the snow on the ground makes a good sunlight reflector. Too much UV radiation can damage the cells on the outer layers of your eyes. This is known as photokeratitis, or ‘sunburned eyes’. Symptoms of sunburned eyes include a burning sensation, red, swollen eyes and eyelids, headaches, and blurred vision. If these symptoms persist, you may require a trip to see you eye care specialist to relieve the irritation of sunburned eyes. To avoid a trip to the optometrist, make sure to wear spectacles or other eyewear that blocks 100% of both UVA and UVB rays.

If you’re active outdoors, eye care experts agree that you should wear goggles instead of sunglasses for maximum protection. This is a must for activities like skiing or snowboarding. However, even if you’re hiking in the snow, being behind someone makes it more likely for someone to kick up debris or snow into your eyes. Sunglasses may not do enough protect your entire eye, so be sure to have a pair of goggles ready. Like your sunglasses, you should make sure that your eyewear also blocks 100% of UVA and UVB radiation.

Start Your New Year Right With a New Year’s Eye Exam

A great way to start your eyes off right for the new year is to make a resolution to visit your eye care center. Your family eye care specialist can make sure your eyes are as healthy as they can be.  This will ensure you a new year of bright, clear vision. Dr. James Hoff at Hoff Optometry can give you a complete eye care examination or contact lens exam.  If you wear eyeglasses, they can make sure your designer prescription glasses are up to date.  They can even give you advice about the best in eye care. With the advice and help of the vision eye care specialists at Hoff Optometry, you’ll always make sure you are seeing your absolute best, even in the harshest of winters!

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