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Protecting Your Eyes In Winter

January 31, 2022
Daughter and mother wearing white knit sweaters and hats happy together

Winter is here along with cold temperatures, dry air, and shorter days.  As many of us pull out our thick warm coats to protect our body from the cold, we may forget that it is important to protect our eyes as well as the rest of our body. Some common complaints during winter months are dry eyes, teary eyes, tired eyes, and contact lens discomfort. Read below for a description of these issues and what you can do to keep your eyes comfortable. 

DRY EYES 

Why are my eyes so dry during cold weather? 

In the winter months there is a lack of moisture in the air and in your home due to heat sources. These two factors can cause your eyes to become dry and itchy. People with dry eyes can experience pain, swelling and blurred vision due to their eyes being dehydrated. 

TEARY EYES 

What causes my eyes to water when it’s cold outside? 

Cold windy air is very drying to your eyes and skin. It can cause your eyes to become irritated which then leads to an increase in the production of tears. Teary eyes are your body’s way of protecting your eyes by lubricating them.  

3 TIPS TO HELP DRY EYES AND TEARY EYES  

  • Drink plenty of water – Most people don’t realize that staying hydrated in winter is just as important as during the hot summer months. Staying hydrated is the first line of defense for your eyes. 
  • Use lubricating eye drops – Planning to spend some time in the great outdoors this winter? Using a lubricating eye drop before going out can help to protect your eyes from the cold air. 
  • Opt for glasses instead – Wearing glasses is one of the best ways to protect your eyes as they provide a natural barrier against drying winds. Heading out in the snow? Don’t forget your sunglasses with UV protection.  

TIRED EYES 

I notice that my eyes feel tired in the afternoon, why is that? 

Winter days are shorter, which means we get less light from the sun and have darker days. Less light from the sun can make certain tasks more difficult for your eyes.  

To avoid eye strain, make sure you are reading, writing, or working in a well-lit area. 

DIGITAL EYE STRAIN 

Winter weather has most people wanting to hang out on the couch and binge watch their favorite shows—which can lead to digital eye strain. Prolonged tv viewing or screen usage can cause headaches in addition to tiredness to your eyes.  

You can reduce digital eye strain by remembering the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds! 

CONTACT LENS DISCOMFORT 

Harsh winds, freezing temperatures, and the lack of moisture in the air can wreak havoc on your eyes when wearing contacts. Simply choosing to wear glasses instead can be great protection for your eyes during winter months. However, if you are a devoted contact lover, alleviate dryness discomfort by using a contact-lens friendly lubricating eye drop. 

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