December 20th, 2016
Q: My eyes always bother me this time of year with the cold and windy weather. What are some things I can do to prevent dryness and discomfort this winter?
A: During the cold winter months, we’re used to layering on the clothing and moisturizers to help protect our skin and bodies, but we tend to forget about our eyes! There are a few steps you can take to protect your eyes from the dry, cold air this season. The best thing you can do for your eye health this winter is to always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection. Snow actually reflects the sun’s UV rays nearly 80 percent, doubling your exposure. It is also important to be extra cautious when in higher altitudes, as radiation exposure increases five percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Inside the home, our heaters are constantly on and they eliminate the moisture from the air, so introducing a humidifier can be helpful in restoring a comfortable humidity level. Something else most people don’t realize, is that it is still important to drink plenty of water during the winter as it is during summer. Hydrating from within by drinking enough fluids will greatly help your eyes and skin. Also, interestingly enough, increasing your omega-3 fatty acid intake by eating more fish helps alleviate dry eye symptoms. Some other things to remember are to take breaks from the computer to prevent eye strain and irritation. Also, make sure to not rub your eyes if you experience any discomfort, as this will only make things worse and could even cause an infection. Keep these tips in mind this winter, and enjoy the holiday season!