WINTER WINDS BRING DRY EYES
The winter sun reflecting off snowy mountaintops is not the only hazard to your vision this season. As temperatures drop and winds pick up, the humidity in the air drops, too. You’ve no doubt already stocked up on lip balm to avoid dry, cracked lips, and anyone who’s prone to dry skin has already purchased a new bottle of skin lotion for the season. Well, your eyes aren’t immune to all of that dry air, either.
Talk to your ophthalmologist about using eye drops to prevent dry eyes during the winter. Your eye doctor may prescribe artificial tears, or he or she may have alternate suggestions. For example, if you spend most of your time indoors during the winter, you may have your HVAC system to thank for your dry eyes.
Central heaters tend to dry out the air in your home or office. Instead of using eye drops, you might benefit more from using a humidifier to counteract the drying effect. Talk to your eye doctor about dry eye treatments based on your personal eye health.
WEAR EYE PROTECTION WHEN SHOVELING SNOW
If you live in a part of the country where you need to shovel snow or split wood, you’re at risk for hurling dirt, grit, splinters, small stones, and shards of ice into your eyes. If you’re shoveling or chopping, be sure to wear eye protection, and if you do get something in your eyes, remember to wash them out with clear water for several minutes.
Whatever you do, if you think that you have something in one or both eyes, do not rub your eyes. This can result in grinding particles into the eye and cutting the cornea. When left untreated, lacerations to the cornea can become infected.
BATTLING INDOOR ALLERGENS
If you’ve humidified your home but your eyes still feel dry and itchy, you may need to do some winter cleaning. With your house closed off from the outside world, any allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, etc. in the air are trapped in the house and will circulate through the air, over and over again.
To deal with indoor allergens, vacuum all rugs and have all of your pets groomed for the winter to cut down on dander. Then, replace your home’s air filters, as new filters will catch more airborne allergens than filters that have been in use for a few months.