1. UV Protection Is Not Just For Summer
Snow can reflect up to 80 percent of sunlight, even on cloudy days. Always wear sunglasses that provide 99 to 100 percent protection against UV-A or UV-B rays when you’re outdoors to protect your retinas from harmful rays. This is especially important if you partake in skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, or any other activity that requires you to be outside for an extended period of time.
It’s equally important to note that sun glare from the snow can lead to snow blindness (photokeratitis), a painful condition that results in blurry vision, tearing, and sensitivity to bright light. Ski goggles and/or a visor should be worn to provide maximum protection against snow, ice, dirt and debris as well.
- Wash Your Hands & Avoid Touching Your Eyes
Winter is a critical time of year for eye hygiene due to the increased prevalence of the cold and flu virus, and conjunctivitis, which are all highly contagious. Touching an infected surface before rubbing your eyes introduces germs to your immune system very quickly. Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes in public places, and always wash your hands before touching your eyes or putting in contact lenses. If you feel the need to rub your eyes often, you may want to consider eye drops to make sure they aren’t overly dry.
- Keep Your Eyes Moisturized
Cold air and indoor heating both cause rapid evaporation of moisture in the air, which leaves us with a thinner layer of tears. Take the following steps to avoid dry eyes:
- Decrease how much time you wear your contact lenses. Lenses can wick tears away from the eyes, so swap out your lenses for glasses.
- Use humidifiers to increase the moisture level in your living/working space.
- Purchase over-the-counter artificial tears, and put some drops in before you head outdoors.
- Keep artificial heat sources and fans away from your face.
If your dry eye is chronic or severe, make an appointment with a certified ophthalmologist. There are a variety of successful treatments for dry eyes that vary depending on the specific cause of the condition.
- Make Sure You Have Adequate Lighting
Many people will continue working from home this winter, and with the days being shorter and darker, it’s important to ensure a well-lit workspace. Dim lighting makes it harder to see and can lead to eye strain, so have good lighting close to you whenever you need it (e.g. a desk light or sun lamp.) Sit close to a window during the day for some natural light, especially if you need to read small text.
The expert ophthalmologists at Everett & Hurite are committed to providing high quality eye care to patients of all ages. Our eye specialists are equipped with the latest technology to accurately diagnose a wide variety of eye conditions, and can develop a customized treatment plan based on your individual needs. We have 10 offices conveniently located in Western Pennsylvania. Request an appointment with one of the physicians or call 412-288-0858.