Many of us often take our eyes for granted — but considering just how vital they are for helping us see and experience the world around us, taking good care of them is essential and should always be a priority. This is especially true during the harsh winter season when the air gets icy cold and dry. Just as you would bundle up to take care of your fingers and toes, you should take specific steps to look after your eyes during Canada’s winter months too. As the temperatures drop and the winds begin to pick up, remember to protect your eyes with these key tips.

Winter Conditions to be Mindful of:

To understand how to best take care of your eyes during winter, it’s helpful to learn what the most damaging aspects of the season include. Here are the top factors that can negatively impact your eyes during the winter:

Dry Air Outside

Did you know that the air in Canada often gets as dry as the Sahara desert? It’s true! As the air dips well below freezing, the humidity drops along with it. And once the winter winds whip up, it can become extremely harsh, causing our eyes to lose moisture and get irritated from the excess rate of evaporation.

Dry Air Indoors

Even when we avoid the weather, staying warm and toasty inside, it can be equally as irritating for our eyes. In fact, with the heating blaring almost constantly throughout the winter, indoor air can sometimes even be worse for our eye health. This is especially true since indoor air is re-circulated and usually contains particles like dust and pet dander.

Glaring Sunlight & UV Radiation

During the winter season, it can get quite gloomy outside. But on those bright and sunny days, it’s easy to forget how harsh the sun can feel against your eyes, especially when there’s accumulated snow on the ground causing a bright and intense glare. Aside from discomfort and difficulty seeing, UV radiation is also a risk factor that can cause serious damage to your eyes.

How to Protect Your Eyes:

Be Mindful of Your Heat

Although it can feel tempting to blast the heat during the winter, remember that higher temperatures can escalate dryness and irritation. Try to regulate the temperature and keep it at a moderate level. Throw on a sweater or extra layer to keep cozy instead!

Blink Your Eyes More Often

Another simple way to look after your eyes during our winter weather is by blinking regularly. Whether you’re at work, at home, or walking outside blinking can help stimulate your tear production and lubricate the eyes.

Use Artificial Tears

If your eyes continue to irritate you, artificial tears can be helpful to carry with you during the winter. These contain ingredients that shield the eyes against the intense rate of evaporation during the cold winter months. So talk to your eye doctor if your eyes itch and irritate you during the season. They can recommend which type is best to help moisten your eyes.

Use a Humidifier

Since our Canadian winters can be extra harsh and long, humidifiers are essential for fighting the excessive dryness in the air when you’re at home with the heat on. Humidifiers add moisture back into the air which balances out the fast rate of evaporation. This can dramatically improve the quality of your indoor air, along with your comfort level when you’re curled up at home.

Eat a Nutritional Diet

Although it can be tough to avoid eating a comforting, carb-heavy diet during the winter, maintaining a nutritional diet is an essential part of safeguarding your eye health during this season. One of the best items to add to your regular grocery list is cold water fish since they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help moisturize your eyes from the inside out.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrating is also an important factor for maintaining proper moisture levels for your eyes. If you find it challenging to remember to drink water, drinking herbal teas can be a great way to stay hydrated while keeping warm.

Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses

Even during cloudy days, UV rays can still be intense enough to impact your eyes. But when we don’t see the sunshine or feel the summer heat, we can often forget about wearing sunglasses. The reality is, the intense reflections of the sun can actually be more dangerous during this time of year. Always carry sunglasses with you and put them on throughout the day when needed.

If you continue to experience irritation throughout the winter, it may be time to have your eyes examined. Pop by Laurier Optical on Innes to have your eyes looked at by our eye care specialists!