‘Tis the season of celebration, giving, and joy! This most wonderful time of the year has so much for us to enjoy. But the fun can come at a cost. All those activities and the changing weather can turn our eyes into a pair of miserable grinches.
To keep our eyes comfortable and our vision healthy, it’s important to make time for a few key habits and actions in our routines. We know, we know - there’s already so much to do! But taking a few seconds to adhere to these six best practices will ensure you (and your family) can stick to your holiday plans and schedules, all while seeing comfortably and clearly:
Research gift options for children. Did you know children incur approximately 11,000 toy-related eye injuries each year? These injuries can range from a scratch on the cornea to serious vision emergencies, such as retinal detachment. Many injuries are due to children ignoring safety guidelines for a toy. Others, however, are because children receive age-inappropriate gifts. So if you are shopping for younger family members, it’s always important to research whether or not the toy you’re buying is age appropriate, safe, and enjoyable.
Always wash your hands. It’s so simple, but so important! Many germs, viruses, and bacterial infections can get into our systems when we touch our face with a contaminated hand. Simply washing your hands with soap and warm water can reduce your risk of contracting many illnesses, ranging from the flu to an eye infection.
Monitor for dry eyes. The winter months are not easy on the eyes. This season tends to dry them out, which is very uncomfortable and actually increases the risk of vision problems such as infection. To help yourself see comfortably and clearly, monitor your eyes to make sure they feel normal. If they feel dry, try blinking more frequently, as this can naturally increase the moisture factor. You can also sit further away from heat sources and use humidifiers in the home to give your eyes some extra support. If these don’t help, talk to your eye doctor to see if eye drops are needed. (But don’t rush into using eye drops. You want to confirm your symptoms are due to the weather, and not an underlying eye problem!)
Take a break from your screens. Screen use can make our eyes tired and dry on a good day. But when it gets cold outside and the sun sets earlier, it’s easier to plop down in front of a TV, computer, or tablet to find something to do. That extra screen time adds up quickly. So be sure to take screen breaks, and to adhere to the 20-20-20 rule!
Grab your shades. Yes, sunglasses are necessary in the winter. Those UV rays don't go away just because we're not on a beach vacation! So be sure to wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
Make eye-friendly resolutions. As hard as it is to believe, we’re already looking ahead to 2019 (no pun intended). So as you consider areas you can improve in next year, you should consider some eye-friendly goals. Making an effort to quit smoking, making small healthy dietary changes, and even checking in with your eye doctor for an annual eye exam can all make a big difference and boost your vision health!
These simple actions will add up quickly this month, allowing you and your family to celebrate a merry and bright holiday season. If, however, you have additional questions or concerns about your eyes this winter, please contact our offices! Our staff are available and ready to address your concerns and help maintain clarity and comfort vision-wise. Call an office near you today, or contact us online to request your appointment!