How to protect your eyes this winter

snow boardingWinter has arrived and for many this means warming by the fire, celebrating the holidays, and even heading to the slopes for a ski break – but that shouldn’t mean neglecting your eye health.

Injury and irritation can happen to the eyes just as easily in the colder months as in the summer.

Whether packing a suitcase ready to hit the slopes or staying cosy at home this winter there are a few precautions you should take to ensure good vision all year round.

Avoid low humidity and dry winds

Closing the windows and turning the heating up is common practice in the winter, after all it is cold outside. Unfortunately this causes the air to become dry creating a less humid environment.

Dryness is the most common eye health complaint during winter and causes a burning or itching feeling as well as the sensation that something is stuck in the eye. People most at risk of this problem are those wearing contact lenses and it’s advised that those who need visual aid wear glasses instead.

To alleviate dryness try moving away from heat sources, use a humidifier, and, if in particular discomfort, use artificial tears to moisten the eyes. Other things you can do include blinking more and wearing glasses outdoors to avoid the drying effects of cold, windy weather.

Snowy conditions? You’ll still need sunglasses

A white Christmas is a dream situation for those who long for a picture perfect holiday but snowy conditions can be more damaging to the eye than hot weather.

Cold weather can double the amount ultra-violet (UV) light entering the eye as it comes from the sun above and is then reflected back up from the surface of snow or ice. UV light can cause burning to the cornea (photokeratitis) and also plays a role in the formation of cataracts.

Wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light in order to protect yourself whilst outside in snowy or icy conditions. If the conditions are particularly bright also wear a hat or visor for added protection.

Wear goggles during outdoor activities

Dirt, ice, slush – it’s easy for debris to get into the eye while your outdoors, particularly if you’re participating in heavy activities like clearing the drive way or snowboarding.

Objects entering the eye are most common when following a fellow skier or hiker and so extra attention should be paid to protecting the eyes when behind someone.

Sunglasses can help protect the eye from some foreign objects but in order to be absolutely protected you should wear goggles with UV protection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *