Wintertime is not only a season for cold weather, but one that can bring changes to your health. Illnesses are more common during this time, and so are vision problems if you don’t practice proper precautions. When the temperature drops lower, there is a spike in vision problems caused by bright sunlight hitting snow, increased screen time indoors, dry air exposure, wind, winter sports and more. Take the proper precautions to protect your eyes during the winter so you don’t have eye problems during the holiday season!
Winter is the prime season for vision damage caused by the sun because all that cloud cover gets underestimated. If you find yourself using sun protection less in the winter months, you are not alone. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants all to be more aware of the damage UV radiation can have on their vision.
Sunglasses are a vital part of any winter wardrobe. While overcast weather is more the norm in the winter months, the sun’s UV rays don’t have any other problems breaking through. The sun’s light is also intensified by snow on the ground, as white will reflect that light straight into your eyes. Since sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and playing outside expose you to lots of that snow-reflected light, it is important to wear eye protection (goggles) from the sun’s rays and to keep dryness from harsh winds and the cold temps from affecting your vision.
The cold temps cause us to stay indoors more around circulating air from heaters and fireplaces. All of these warm air sources dry out your living environment and can really start to irritate your eyes.
Combat this with daily eye drops to keep moisture in your eyes, and/or a humidifier to help add some moisture to the air around you.
Most of us don’t realize the damage UV rays and UV radiation are causing because it is painless and invisible until a real problem surfaces. UV radiation leads to serious vision issues like, cataracts, macular degeneration, photokeratitis (or temporary vision loss), cancer and more.
If you think that any ol’ pair of sunglasses will do, think again. There is a reason some sunglasses carry a higher price tag. Fashion sunglasses do not block out harmful rays—they only provide tinted lenses. Choose sunglasses that protect you from 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays–look for the label. Many labels say they protect against “UV 400”. This means the glasses block out all harmful UV rays. Purchase your proper, protective eyewear through Peepers Optical to ensure you are investing in a quality product–your eyes are worth it!
Polarized lenses will help to reduce the glare that is reflected off of wet, icy or shiny surfaces. Lens tints and coatings (such as anti-glare or anti-scratch coatings) can also help to improve visual clarity and can serve to reduce glare and to enhance contrast sensitivity to improve vision and therefore performance in certain outdoor activities. Some sports sunglasses come with interchangeable lenses of different tints to allow you to choose the contrast that most suits the conditions you are playing in.
Don’t forget that this time of year is prime time for bacteria, flu and eye-related illness like like conjunctivitis (pink eye). Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes to protect yourself from issues.
Need some more advice or help combatting dry eye symptoms? At Peepers Optical, our Denver, Co, team of eye doctors and certified opticians are highly trained in performing a range of eye tests and exams. In addition to basic vision screening, we conduct eye health evaluations, prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, and check for any signs of ocular disease. Call 303-333-2800 to schedule an appointment for better vision!