Avoid Weeping Over Winter Eye Woes With These Three Tips
Winter brings with it festive holidays and fun in the snow. However, this time of year can also result in a bit of crying over chronic eye problems that develop due to the cold, dry weather. Here are three tips for keeping your eyes healthy and trouble-free during the snowy season.
Wear Eye Protection
Most people think sunglasses are only for the summer time, but sunlight can be just as problematic in the winter. Although the sun's rays may feel weaker because of the cold weather, it can still damage eyes when it reflects off snow, ice, and similar surfaces. If you're not careful, you could end up with snow blindness (i.e. photokeratitis), which can cause the temporary loss of vision among other symptoms.
Therefore, the first thing you should do is make sure you have a good pair of glasses that block the sun's UV rays. Sunglasses work best. If you don't want to constantly switch between sunglasses and your regular glasses, consider investing in transition lenses that automatically darken when the sun's rays hit them.
Drink Lots of Water
Dry eye is another problem you'll run into. Cold air tends to have low moisture content, which is why your skin feels drier during the winter time. Because your body is using more energy to keep you warm, you lose just as much water—sometimes more—as you would during the summertime when your body is trying to keep you cool. This can result in a number of problems, including dry, irritated eyes.
To ensure your eyes have plenty of tears to keep them moist during the winter, drink adequate amounts of water, 8 cups per day at minimum. If it's difficult for you to consume that much liquid, increase the amount of water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet. Cantaloupe, tomato, cucumbers, and lettuce all have lots of water as well as vitamins and minerals that can support good eye health.
Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acid
Most diet experts recommend you eat less fat. If you want to keep your eyes looking and working good, however, you should increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acid you consume. This is actually one of the good fats that help reduce inflammation in the body. The winter dry air can actually inflame your eye's tear glands, so eating more of this healthy fact can prevent this problem.
You can get omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish (e.g. salmon, tuna), walnuts, soybean and canola oil, and flaxseed. Taking fish oil supplements may also provide you with the omega-3 boost you need for good health.
For more tips on protecting your eyes during winter or to make an appointment for an eye exam, contact an optometrist.