Whether you’re hitting the slopes, heading to work or just cozying up by the fire, be aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to take good vision for granted when you should really be taking precautions.
Follow these three easy steps to ensure your eyes stay safe and healthy:
1. Keep your eyes moist. Heat or air circulation from a fire or heater can cause dryness and irritation of the eye. It can be particularly painful and annoying for those who already suffer from dry eye, a chronic condition in which the body doesn’t properly produce tears. Try sitting farther away from heat sources and use artificial tears or a humidifier to alleviate dryness.
2. Wear sunglasses with UV protection. The sun can damage your eyes when it’s cold outside in more ways than when the weather is warm. Snowy conditions double the sun’s effect as ultraviolet (UV) rays can enter your eyes from above and are reflected off the snow into your eyes. Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV light and throw on a hat or visor if conditions are particularly bright.
3. Wear goggles. It’s very easy for debris — dirt, bark, slush, ice — to get into your eye while you’re being active outdoors. It’s even more likely for things to get trapped in the eye if you’re skiing or hiking behind someone. Sunglasses help, but they don’t do enough; Wear goggles for maximum protection. Find a pair that has enough room for you to wear sunglasses underneath or find a pair with UV protection built in.
If you are experiencing particularly uncomfortable dry eye, contact your eye doctor to make an appointment. If you think your eyes may have been damaged by the sun or by debris, seek treatment immediately.