Winter Eye Care Tips: Six Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy
When it comes to winter wellbeing, there’s often an emphasis on the importance of taking steps to support your immunity and staying well and active. Health and wellbeing during the winter is incredibly important, but one area that often gets forgotten about is eye health. During the winter months with more of us turning up the heating and coming down with seasonal illnesses, our eyes need just as much TLC as the rest of our bodies. But exactly how can we support the health of our eyes over the next few months?
If you feel yourself suffering with dry eyes during the winter months, you’re not alone. It’s normal to experience dry eyes at this time of year - in fact, it’s actually more common during the winter and the spring. A lot of the time, this is down to seasonal changes such as an increase in cold air. The air is drier both outdoors and indoors, because many of us will be putting the heating on more often than usual. Additionally, with this time of year being rife for colds and flu, medicines such as decongestants can make dry eye symptoms worse too.
Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to ease dry eye symptoms, the most common being to use comfort drops, which help to lubricate the eye and restore natural moisture. You can generally use them as and when needed (unless recommended otherwise by your optometrist or pharmacist), but the key things to remember are to make sure that you read the label, and if you wear contact lenses, make sure the drops you use are suitable for them. You can also buy ointments over the counter to help with dry eyes too, which you apply along your lower lash line. Eye ointments are thicker than drops, and because of this they can sometimes make your vision blurry, so it’s best to apply them before bedtime.
You can also try using a warm compress to ease dry eye discomfort. While you can purchase eye masks which can be heated in the microwave, you can also soothe your eyes by soaking a clean flannel in warm water and placing it over them for around 10 minutes a day. Alternatively, you could invest in an indoor humidifier to help restore moisture into the air in your home. If after trying the above you’re still struggling with dry eye symptoms, it can be a good idea to pay your optometrist a visit.
After the events of the year, taking additional hygiene measures is likely to be something we’ve all gotten used to, and we should make sure that these measures extend into our eye care, if they haven’t already. One of the most common things we’re all guilty of doing is rubbing our eyes, which isn’t particularly the best thing for our eye-health, so this is one particular habit to nip in the bud - especially during the winter months when germs are more prominent.
Hand hygiene is important when it comes to eye-care, especially if you’re a contact lens wearer. Ensure that when you’re doing anything that involves touching your eyes - such as inserting contact lenses, putting in eye drops or applying eye makeup - you wash and dry your hands thoroughly beforehand. If you wear eye makeup, ensure that you keep your brushes clean and don’t share them with anyone else. If you’re suffering with an eye infection, you should take extra hygiene measures - don’t share towels with anyone else, avoid wearing contact lenses and be sure to replace any eye makeup and brushes when the infection clears up.
We all know the effects that dehydration can have on our wellbeing, such as headaches and lightheadedness, but your eyes can suffer too. Believe it or not, as your body dehydrates, your tear ducts can as well, which can lead to dry eyes and other issues. The NHS Eatwell Guide recommends that we drink around 6-8 glasses of water every day to ensure we stay hydrated, so by reaching for the H2O, you’ll be taking extra care of your eyes as well as your general health and wellbeing.
Give Your Eyes a Break
In an age where more jobs require the use of an electronic device, more of us will be using screens each day. For many of us, this will even extend into our downtime as well, with scrolling through social media, gaming and watching Netflix heavily featuring. During the winter months, we’ll all be spending a bit more time indoors, so many of us will be more likely to switch on the TV or the laptop to ease the boredom. However, these devices can emit blue light, leading to eye strain, headaches and even poor sleep.
One way to reduce your blue light exposure is to limit your device usage - while you may not be able limit this during your average work day, you can certainly do so during your leisure time. Another way you can reduce your blue light exposure is by investing in a pair of blue light blocking glasses. These glasses block blue light from smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices, helping to reduce eye strain and headaches. We have a great selection of stylish, durable frames, and with the help of our high performance blue light blocking lenses, your eyes will feel fresher for longer. Ensure that you take additional measures to help prevent eye strain when working too, such as the “20-20-20” rule and making sure that your work area has plenty of light.
Additionally, if you wear contact lenses full time, it can also be beneficial for you to take a couple of days off from wearing them every now and again, especially if you’re experiencing dry eyes. Not only does this allow more oxygen into the eye, it will also help reduce your risk of developing any infections.
Some may not see sunglasses as a necessity during the winter months, but actually, protecting your eyes from UV is important all year round, not just during the summer. UV radiation can cause damage to the eyes and in severe cases, prolonged exposure can lead to conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and photokeratitis.
Protecting your eyes from UV exposure doesn’t just mean wearing sunglasses either. You can opt for glasses with a UV filter for your everyday specs, tinted or untinted, or you can also find them in reactive lenses too. Going for glasses with a UV filter is an easy way to ensure your eyes stay protected all year round.
Protect against Blue Light
In the winter months we tend to spend more time indoors which often results in increased screen time. Blue light from screens cause a stress on the visual system. This occurs because the blue light are short but high energy wavelengths and the exposure of these high energy blue light wavelengths should be kept to a minimum. Wearing blue light glasses is a great way to limit this exposure to blue light. These glasses have multiple layers embedded in the lenses that both reflect and absorb blue light which means we can use digital devices for longer without suffering the associated symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and tired eyes. It also helps regulate sleep patterns as blue light suppresses the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone).
If in Doubt…
It’s easy to get into the mindset that problems will clear up on their own or that you don’t want to waste any time. However, if you’re experiencing any symptoms that are worrying you, no matter how small, don’t be afraid to pay a visit to your local opticians just to be on the safe side. In most cases, they’ll be easily treated, but in the event they need further investigation, you can get them checked out and treated nice and early.
Taking steps to keep our eyes healthy is indeed a must all year round. However, during the winter months when wellbeing is of particular importance, we should all make sure that we don’t neglect our eyes. Small measures such as practicing good hygiene and staying hydrated can make a big difference!
Written by Amy Jackson - Content and Features Writer at Promo Codes For - 23rd November 2020
Seasonal Variation in Dry Eye (N. Kumar, W. Feuer, N.L. Lanza, & A. Galor, 2015):
Dry Eyes in Winter: Causes, Treatment & Prevention (Healthline, 2020): https://www.healthline.com/health/dry-eyes-in-winter
Managing Dry Eyes in Every Season (Healthline, 2018):
15 Winter Eye Care Tips (Iris Vision, 2018): https://irisvision.com/winter-eye-care-tips/