With the weather changing and snowfall on the horizon, it can be easy to focus on staying warm and not on the safety of your eyes. Cold weather, though, can be just as irritating to your eyes as the UV rays of summer. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or staying cozy indoors by the fire, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect your vision all year around.
1. Keep Your Eyes Moist
One of the main problems with winter weather is the dryness in the air caused by heaters or frigidly cold air. Although it may be difficult, try not to sit directly next to heat sources so the dry air doesn’t impact your eyes as dramatically. The use of heaters, however, will always create dryness in the air that you will need to fight inside of your home in order to keep your eyes moist and healthy. To do this, try using a humidifier to put moisture back in the air or eye drops that can moisturize already dry eyes.
2. Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses are only for UV rays in the summer, right? Actually, UV rays are almost twice as strong in the winter because snowy conditions can intensify and reflect the rays from the sun. While it may seem silly, wearing sunglasses outside during winter can help minimize the effect of UV rays by blocking almost 99% of UV light and by providing a barrier to the chilling winter winds. Sunglasses can be particularly useful when skiing or doing an outdoor activity in the snow. If necessary, goggles may also need to be worn during outdoor activities to block any particles such as slush, ice or dirt from getting into your eyes while you’re flying down the slopes.
Aside from protecting your eyes from the reflection from the snow, it is important to keep in mind that elevation plays an important role in eye safety during winter as well. At higher elevations, the air is much thinner, which means more UV rays are able to reach down through the atmosphere. Similarly, UV rays are also naturally higher near the equator. If you live in a high elevation or down south near the equator, you should be extra vigilant about the safety of your eyes this winter!
3. Opt for Eyeglasses, Not Contacts
Contacts, because of their direct contact with your eyes, can significantly contribute to your already dry, winter eyes. They act as sponges and require extra amounts of moisture in order to function properly and stay comfortable. Once they begin to dry out, contacts can cling to the eye, making them uncomfortable, cloudy and difficult to remove. Eyeglasses make everything easier by reducing the contact with your eyes, making it simpler to keep your eyes moistened. So, if you do opt for contact lenses this winter, remember to keep them extra moisturized! With a little awareness, and an endless supply of eye drops, you can keep your eyes safe this winter, even with contact lenses.
Remember that eye safety and protection are not topics that are reserved for summertime weather. In winter, UV rays are magnified by snow, elevation and proximity to the equator, making it even more necessary to take precautions like sunglasses and moisturizing eye drops to keep your eyes safe all throughout the season.
If you are looking for more tips to keep your eyes safe this winter, please don’t hesitate to contact us at OCLI today!