Protecting Your Eyes in the Winter

Did you know that your eyes could be at more risk during the winter than in the summer? Yes, you read correctly. During the summer the majority of people are good about wearing sunglasses and sunscreen to protect them from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, but during the winter months, the overcast skies and lack of sunshine tend to distract us from protecting our eyes. Exposure to UV radiation no matter the time of year can make your eyes more prone to degenerative eye diseases such as cataractsglaucoma, periocular skin cancer, and macular degeneration.

Tips to Help Protect Your Eyes This Winter Season:

Wear Sunglasses
In Ohio, sometimes we are lucky to see a little sunshine during the winter. This direct sunlight or light reflecting off snow can be even brighter and expose you to more UV rays than light reflecting off the water. Regardless of the weather, wear sunglasses as much as possible to reduce your UV ray exposure.

Wear Eye Protection
Outside work still needs to be done in the winter. Sunglasses are always an option but may not be the best eye protection. If you are shoveling snow, doing yard work, snowmobiling, or hanging decorations, wear the proper eye protection to keep any unnecessary objects like dirt, bark, or debris from entering your eyes.

Wear a Hat
If it is daylight, there is a potential for your eyes to be exposed to UV rays. Wearing a hat will help protect your eyes by keeping UV rays off your face. When you are outdoors for a long period of time, a wide-brimmed hat will likely be the most effective.

Use Sunscreen
You may be thinking – how does sunscreen protect my eyes? By applying sunscreen to your face and neck during the winter, you are deterring harmful UV rays from your face. We recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Use Eye Drops
During the winter, your eyes may be irritated by the cold, wind, or dry air due to the lack of moisture. To prevent chronic dry eye – a condition that typically causes irritation, burning, and constant scratching of the eyes, you should use eye drops to help keep them lubricated.

For more information on how to protect your eyes during the winter, contact ProMedica Physicians ProMedica Physicians Vision Associates at 419-578-2020. Our eye doctors can prescribe remedies for chronic dry eye and recommend special sunglasses or face gear to protect your eyes.

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