by Valerie Demetros
Winter is here and that means wearing cozy sweaters and drinking hot chocolate. But it also is an important time to pay attention to your eyes.
With temperatures outside dropping, humidity also lowers. This can be drying not only to your skin but also your eyes. And heading indoors doesn’t necessarily make that any better. Dry indoor air can be just as drying. Re-circulated indoor air is laden with dehydrating elements like ambient skin flora and bacteria.
Although skiing and outdoor sports are exhilarating, excessive UV exposure through direct sunlight can increase the risk of cataracts as well as skin cancer. Grab sunscreen and sunglasses during prolonged outdoor activities.
Be aware that you can get excessive UV exposure from the reflection off snowy surfaces, and it is equally bad for your skin and eye health.
One way to take care of your eyes is to regulate the temperature indoors.
Turn down your central heating to a mild temperature, ensuring ample moisture retention in your eyes. Even using a humidifier can put a little moisture back in your skin and eyes.
No matter what you do, you will probably get dry eyes occasionally. Rather than using medicated eye drops, consider artificial tears. If they are just dry and not irritated, this can be better for your eyes.
If you wear contacts, stay away from most eye drops. The chemicals can interact with the lenses and cause damage.
Another important factor is to stay hydrated. It never hurts to drink water to keep your eyes at their best. Aim for the typical eight glasses every day.
While you’re out in the sun and snow, quality sunglasses are your friends. Block out those UV rays, and while heading down the slopes, use quality goggles with built-in UV protection.
When your eyes do become dry and itchy, place a warm damp cloth over them for 15 minutes. Lay back and relax. If it persists, go for an eye exam and make sure there are no underlying issues.
Finally, keep your eyes clean. Unless you just washed your hands, keep them away from your eyes. Make sure to remove your makeup before bed, and wash or replace makeup and brushes to ward off infections.