How to keep your eyes healthy this winter — NJ doc’s tips
The bitter cold and lack of moisture can wreak havoc on people's eyes whether or not you suffer from dry eyes. Harsh winter winds and cold air evaporate moisture from the cornea more quickly, making already dry eyes dryer and more painful.
Dr. Joseph Calderone, of Better Vision New Jersey, has advice that can increase eye comfort in the winter and prevent long-term damage.
The first thing you should do indoors is to sit away from space heaters and fireplaces.
Keep a bottle of brand name over-the-counter artificial tears on hand. You can use them a couple of times of day or more, if needed.
Limit computer and cell phone use. They are usually associated with decreased blinking and increased drying. Calderone said remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away to break the cycle of continued staring at electronic screens.
Try to increase the moisture levels in your home with house plants, a humidifier and even a bowl of water, he said.
Don't forget to increase your intake of fish oils by eating fatty fish like salmon or taking omega-3 supplements. These are vital for maintaining the lipid layer of the eyes, said Calderone.
Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and beans. Drink plenty of water.
Calderone also suggested that everyone in the family start the new year with an eye exam.
"If you have dry eyes, the eye doctor can introduce you to all sorts of dry eye therapeutic options," he said.
Calderone said increased ultraviolet light from the sun reflecting off the snow can bounce into your eyes. He said when you're skiing, snowboarding, using a snowblower, or playing in the snow, don't forget the sunglasses.