A winter wonderland can be a beautiful sight to behold, but the dry, cold conditions can take quite a toll on your eyesight. Dry, itchy, watery eyes are common complaints during winter months, but don’t think that you are doomed to blurred vision and eye fatigue when temperatures drop. Here are some steps that you can take to keep your eyesight clear:
- Protect your eyes from heat. When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than being toasty and warm inside. However, direct heat from furnaces and heaters can evaporate tear film and cause eye irritation. Use a humidifier at home as well as at the office, and position air vents in cars and homes to divert heat away from your face.
- Be selective in purchasing eye drops. Artificial tears lubricant ointments are safe to use up to four times per day. Preservative-free tears can be used as often as you like, but avoid using drops that claim to remove redness. They can often make redness worse.
- Try fish oil supplements. Fish oil increases gland health and tear film quality. The easiest way to add fish oil to your diet is through supplements, so talk to your doctor about the best brand for you.
- Take regular breaks. Digital eye strain is a real problem, thanks to media overload. Too many hours on smart phones, tablets, computers and televisions can cause significant eye problems. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Choose gentle eye make-up. Waterproof makeup can be hard to remove and require abrasive cleaners. Coconut oil is an inexpensive and gentle make-up remover, and it can be purchased at your local grocery store.
- Get a comprehensive eye exam each year. Occasional dry eye can progress into dry eye syndrome and dry eye disease. Regular eye examinations by a licensed ophthalmologist can help protect your vision and prevent chronic conditions and diseases.
Take care of your eyes this winter to prevent dry eye and keep your vision clear. You don’t have to sacrifice your eyesight during the cold months. A few easy steps, changes and precautions can make a big difference in clarity and comfort.