Looking after your eyes this winter
As the wintry weather creeps in and the dark nights start earlier, many eye conditions can be affected due to the temperature, humidity, and poor lighting.
This page offers some helpful tips and guidance to help prevent some common eye conditions and help keep your eyes comfortable this winter.
Protecting your eyes Outside
Winter weather brings colder temperatures, increased wind and lower humidity – all these factors can affect the eyes by causing the tear film to evaporate more quickly, more debris such as dust, smoke, snow can get into the eyes and the low humidity makes the air dryer.
There are also high levels of UV around even in the winter. We tend to think that in the warm summer months we are at more risk of damaging our eyes due to UV. However, there is still a lot of UV light around – it is not blocked by the clouds. Also, in snowy conditions, the additional reflections and brightness from the snow can make vision uncomfortable.
The winter sun also creates more glare as the sun is lower in the sky, which can be disabling when driving.
If you hit the slopes this winter, make sure your eyes are protected as the added reflections off the snow can be disabling. There are loads of exciting goggles and sunglasses which fit over ski helmets. There are also goggles you can wear over your own spectacles which don't make them steam up!
Spectacles and sunglasses can help protect the eyes from the wind and UV light and reduce glare.
If you are a spectacle wearer, Transition lenses are a great way to wear your spectacles in varying light conditions without having to switch between clear and tinted lenses.
At Coton & Hamblin we have a wide range of sunwear options – ranging from tints, to mirror tints, Transitions, and polarizing lenses – which come in single vision and multifocal options.
Please chat with a member of our spectacle dispensing team to discuss what options are best for your eye sunwear needs.
Protecting your eyes inside
Once you get inside from the cold, windy weather, your eyes can become affected by indoor heat – central heating, air conditioning and hot air in cars can make your eyes feel very dry – this is due to the reduced humidity.
Reduced humidity can also make your skin dry and create dry throat and coughs. It can also affect your home with damage to plaster and wooden floors.
Indoor humidity should be around 50%. To achieve this, we can use dehumidifiers or a simple way to increase humidity is to place a bowl of water near a radiator. As the water evaporates, it increases the air humidity, making it less dry.
Screens and workstation set up
There has long been an association between dry, uncomfortable eyes and excessive screen time - this has only got worse since the pandemic.
Staring at screens reduces how often we blink – we need to blink to maintain the tear film which lubricates and supplies nutrients and oxygen to the front surface of the eye. Reduced blinking can make vision unstable with episodes of blurred vision and it can also lead to drying of the cornea which can create very sore, red eyes and swollen lids.
When you are spending more than 30 minutes on a digital device, try to follow the 20-20-20 rule.
- Every 20 minutes
- Look away from the screen into the distance about 20 feet away.
- Blink 20 times
This allows the eyes to relax by looking into the distance rather than the shorter working distance of most digital devices. The blink helps restore the tear film and prevent the glands which produce the tears from becoming blocked.