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Protecting Your Eyes in Winter

Winters in Alberta can be harsh and cold, and take their toll. Our eyes in particular need extra care and attention during this time of the year. Here are the two main health problems eyes experience during winter and methods you can use to combat them

  1. Dry air conditions
    Alberta winters are known for being very cold and very dry. This can lead to eye dryness, which can cause redness, itching and even watery eyes as your tear ducts attempt to compensate for the lack of moisture. Individuals who wear contact lenses are the most likely to experience these problems. Both outside and inside areas tend to be dry, with the constantly running heaters affecting the moisture content in the air in our homes and offices. To combat dry air conditions consider investing in a humidifier. You can also use artificial tear solutions to help keep your eyes moist. If you are going to be concentrating on complex visual tasks, such as using a computer screen, you tend to blink less often. By consciously remembering to blink often you can help ensure your eyes do not dry out. You may also want to consider switching to glasses, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors where your eyes will be affected by the dry wind.

  2. Sun reflecting on snow and ice
    If you are spending several hours a day outside skiing, shoveling snow or skating you are increasing your eyes exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light which is reflected off snow and ice and can damage the surface of your eye. This damage causes your cornea to become inflamed, a condition called keratitis. Too much exposure to UV light can also expedite the formation of cataracts, which can severely impact vision. Extreme cold does usually affect eyes, as our eyes automatically protect themselves by causing us to tear up or squint. However, to protect your eyes from UV radiation you should limit your time outdoors on really sunny winter days and also cover your eyes with UV blocking sunglasses.

For more information about keeping your eyes healthy or to book your next appointment call Market Mall Optometry today at 403.286.4884 and visit today.

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