Winters can be unforgiving, especially to the eyes. It brings along with it not just the festive joys, but some health issues too. Along with seasonal illnesses like cold, cough, and a runny nose, winters can be harsh on your eyes as well. Some of the factors that contribute to eye problems in winter are low moisture in the air, long nights that cause the pupils to dilate, indirectly straining the eye. The extreme cold can also constrict your blood vessels, making your vision blurry.
All of these factors cause eye problems such as:
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity and more
Without proper care of your eyes during the winter, you can be highly susceptible to different corneal infections. In this article, Ophthalmologist, Dr. Ravi. R. Viswanathan shares his expert advice on common problems your eyes can face this winter, and how to fight them.
Winter Eye Problem: Dry Eyes
The weather is cold and windy and can dry the eyes quite quickly when outside. But that’s not all that can dry out your eyes. Heaters that warm up your home can also dry out the eyes. So you’ve got to be careful indoors as well.
Also Read: Dry Eye Syndrome: 6 Tips To Tackle This Eye Problem
Solution: Use A Warm Compress
Apply a warm cotton pad on each eye for two to three minutes. This will help your eyes create the moisture they need. This also helps soothe itchy, irritated, and swollen eyes. It is also important to ensure that your eyes stay clear from direct heat sources like car heaters and try to steer the airflow away from your face.
Winter Eye Problem: Itchy Eyes
Apart from drying out your eyes, the cold weather can also make your eyes itchy. Often it can reach a point where it hampers your vision and you find yourself unable to concentrate on work or anything else.
Solution: Keep Your Eyes Moist
Your eyes are unquestionably at a greater risk of becoming itchy during the winters, so it is wise that you take steps to keep them hydrated. You can do so by investing in some nourishing and hydrating eye drops that will help relieve the itchiness.
Also Read: Winter Eye Care: 7 Tips To Protect Your Eyes From The Cold
Winter Eye Problem: Light Sensitivity
In winters, the sun tends to be lower in the sky and this can cause difficulty seeing. Light sensitivity can cause you to squint or shut your eyes when the sun hits your eyes, which can be extremely dangerous especially while driving.
Solution: UV-Protected Sunglasses
If you are outdoors on a cold day, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harsh sunlight and the drying effects of the wind. Vulnerability to UV light is amplified in the winter due to the sun’s reflection on snow. If you plan to go skiing or skating, be sure you wear UV-protected sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.
Also Read: UV Protected Sunglasses And Their Benefits
Winter Eye Problem: Red Eyes
Red eyes can be a sign of many things, such as seasonal allergy, tiredness, blurry vision, tearing, or an infection.
Solution: Use A Humidifier
Using a humidifier is one of the best things you can do for red eyes during the bitter winters. A humidifier combats the dry indoor air and helps restore the moisture which can do wonders for your red eyes. Ensure that you run your humidifier during the night when your eyes are more prone to dry conditions.
Winter Eye Problem: Tired Eyes
As we know that the days are shorter and the nights are longer during winter. This means that there is less natural light which can make simple functioning more difficult, take for example reading and writing. Straining your eyes to see in lower visibility can cause eyestrain making your eyes feel tired quicker.
Also Read: Six Things To Do At Your Desk To Avoid Eye Strain
Solution: Better Lighting And Blue Light Block Eyeglass
To avoid this keep a lamp close to your workstation and wear blue light blocking eyeglasses to see well and keep the harmful blue light away. Make sure you wear blue lens eyeglasses to avoid overstraining and overstressing your eyes.
Get Blue Light Blocking Eyeglasses Here:
Expert Talk With Dr. Viswanathan
Throwing light on winter eye care problems, Dr. Ravi. R. Viswanathan (MBBS, FICO, MRCSEd(Ophth)) shared his expertise with us.
Anakims: What can we do to take care of our eyes this winter?
Dr Viswanathan: Winters are dry and dusty. It’s the time when the allergies flare up. Identify the allergens and try to avoid them. Use protective glasses while going out, wash your hands before touching your eyes and avoid rubbing your eyes.
Anakims: How can we prevent dry eyes in winter?
Dr Viswanathan: Here are a few preventive tips:
- Avoid harsh (toxic) cosmetics.
- Clean your eyelids (especially the lid margins) with a soft cloth soaked in warm water, in the morning and at night.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Take frequent breaks (every 30 minutes) from tasks like reading, writing, using a computer and mobiles this will improve blinking and prevent dry eye.
- Frequent cold compress.
Anakims: Will wearing sunglasses help prevent the negative effects of the sun in winter?
Dr Viswanathan: Any type of protective glasses will help protect your eyes in winter. Sunglasses will also soothe the eyes by filtering the bright light.
Suffering from dry, irritated, itchy eyes due to winters can be frustrating. If even after following these suggestions, you continue to struggle with the symptoms of dry eyes, visit your eye doctor for an eye exam immediately.
About Dr. Ravi. R. Viswanathan
Dr. Ravi. R. Viswanathan graduated from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, received FICO from the International Council of Ophthalmology, and MRCSEd(Ophth) from The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. He is currently a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Al Salama Eye Hospital, Kannur, Kerala, and Medical Retina and Neuro-ophthalmology are specialties of his expertise.
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