As the holidays approach, it’s time to accept that winter is here. In much of the country, the winter months mean cold weather and snow.
It also means dry air, which can irritate your eyes. You don’t have to worry about the biting cold here in Texas.
But it’s still important to be aware of your eye health as things affect everyone in the winter. Want to know how to keep your eyes healthy during the winter and all year round?
Keep reading for eyecare tips you never knew you needed this season!
In the height of summer, you probably know how important it is to stay hydrated in the sweltering heat. It’s easy to become dehydrated when it’s hot and humid, but you can also become dehydrated even when it’s cooler out.
Staying hydrated keeps your whole body healthy, but it also significantly affects the eyes. When you’re dehydrated, your eyes can dry out and become irritated.
Dry eyes can even lead to infection or corneal ulcers. You may not have to contend with freezing cold, dry air, but your eyes can still dry out even here in Texas.
Another good way to keep your eyes from drying out is through nutrition. You can eat fatty fish, seeds, walnuts, and dark, leafy greens to help keep your eyes hydrated.
You can also take nutritional supplements like fish oil and flaxseed oil, which contain omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help your eyes stay healthy and produce enough tears.
Take a Break from the Screen
With the holidays, you may have extra free time coming up. For many people, this means more time at home.
Maybe you’re looking forward to binging a TV show you’ve been meaning to get to all year. There’s nothing wrong with being a couch potato occasionally, but too much screen time can negatively affect your eyes.
Looking at digital devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets reduces your blink rate. When your blink rate decreases, it leads to symptoms of dry eye syndrome. You may notice that your eyes feel itchy, gritty, fatigued, or become more sensitive to light.
If you want your eyes to feel their best this winter, remember to take breaks from the television or your phone. That’s not to say you can’t relax, because you certainly can!
Cuddle up on the couch with a good book or a low-key craft project like knitting a scarf. If you choose to spend a few hours in front of the TV, follow the 20-20-20 rule.
Every twenty minutes, take a break to stare at an object twenty feet away for twenty seconds. Looking at something that isn’t a screen helps your eyes re-moisturize and prevents severe eye strain.
But also be sure to take some time away from the screens even when following this rule! Your eyes will thank you when they don’t feel as dry and irritated.
Give the Fireplace a Wide Berth
It doesn’t matter if it’s freezing or not. There’s nothing like curling up in front of a lit fireplace during the holidays.
Some homes just don’t feel complete without a roaring fire to tie together the holiday decor. Or maybe you have a family tradition of gathering around your fire pit in the backyard at night during the winter.
You should always be careful around a fire for safety reasons, but you also should be extra cautious about the smoke and your eyes. Smoke can irritate your eyes, especially if you’re wearing contact lenses.
The best way to avoid this is to keep from getting too close to the fire. If you get near to roast a marshmallow, limit how long you spend standing close to the fire. Fires can be a lot of fun, but blinding yourself with smoke isn’t, so give your fireplace or fire pit some space!
Supervise Your Children
If you have children around during the holidays, your household will gain a few new toys by the end of the month. Your children are also probably eager to try out all their presents.
Let them enjoy and have fun, but be sure to supervise younger children with certain toys. Also, be wary of toys that shoot projectiles, and when possible, avoid giving such toys as gifts.
Eye injuries skyrocket during the holidays, and no one wants an injury to ruin their favorite time of year. So be sure to take the time to ensure your children are staying safe and always do your research before giving toys as gifts to any child. Age-appropriate gifts are the best way to ensure that children only receive things they should be playing with that are suitable for their age.
Go Easy on the AC
Whether you have the AC on cooling or heating, you should be careful sitting too close to the air vent. Both hot and cold air from AC units can dry out your eyes.
You may be able to go without heating or cooling much of the winter, so do so when possible and bundle up at night. You can also get a humidifier to keep your house from getting too dry when the AC is on.
Maintaining sound eye health this winter isn’t too hard, but you should consider it. Follow these tips, and you’re sure to have a healthy vision going into the new year!
Want to make sure your eyes are healthy? Schedule an appointment at South Texas Eye Institute in San Antonio, TX, today!