Do you need to take care of your eyes during the winter?

February 04 2020 0

featuring the Gomer Bomb

Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted a shorter winter this year, but many of us are getting ready for the February skiing and snowboarding season. Many of our customers ask us if eye care changes during winter -- do we really need to take special care of our eyes during cold weather?

Short answer? YES!

Long answer? Well, we'll get to that. 

We need to practice extra eye safety because our eyes are extra-sensitive during the winter. 

Because of things like the winter flu and cold season, low humidity, forced air from indoor heating, and a tendency toward skipping sunglasses, our eyes come up against more adversaries during winter weather.

It's easy to remember your sunglasses when the weather reports call for 90 degrees and above, but how often have you had to squint and stumble your way through a snowy day? 

 

What eye issues come up during winter?

During the winter, we're prone to dry, watery eyes, vision issues that tag along with altitude changes, and -- most commonly -- snow blindness. 

  • Snow blindness occurs when the snow reflects sunlight, creating a highly-dangerous form of UV light that can cause major damage to the eyes. When this concentrated UV light hits the eyes, it can damage the cornea itself, causing blurry vision. Usually, this is temporary, but if you're a seasonal skiier or snowboarder, snow blindness can build up damage over years that causes a permanent change in vision. 
  • Dry and watery eyes occur because cold air is less humid than warm air. If the air surrounding your eyes is too dry, you may suffer from red eyes, along with itchiness or burning. On the other end of the spectrum, watery eyes happen when your eyes try to overcompensate for the lack of moisture in the air. They create too many tears, which can interfere with your vision, spread illnesses like conjunctivitis, or ruin your makeup. (I don't know which is worse, honestly!) 
  • Altitude issues tend to affect ski bunnies and adrenaline junkies who spend the entire season on the slopes. The higher you go in altitude, the less protection you have from UV rays. Paired with snow glare and winter winds, the thread of winter eye issues only grows stronger. 

featuring the Mega Bomb

How do I keep my eyes safe during the winter? 

We're glad you asked! 

You can keep your eyes safe from winter weather by: 

  • Wearing sunglasses. The number one way to protect your eyes during winter is by wearing sunglasses or other safety gear. And we're not just saying that because we're Bomber Eyewear--it's true science! Be sure to invest in high-quality sunglasses or snow goggles that block out UV radiation. High-quality hats and hoods are helpful too, particularly when paired with sunnies. During winter, it's especially important to wear sunglasses on cloudy days. The light color of the clouds and the snow compounds snow glare, which can create a perfect storm of damage to unprotected corneas. (P.S. For our winter sports junkies, you can always secure your Bomber Eyewear with one of our cheap and durable sunglasses cords--no more losing your goggles to the ski lift!) 
  • Be careful turning up the heat. Forced air, like indoor heaters and car heat, further suck moisture out of already dry air as they produce heat. To compensate for this, make sure you never point a heater directly at your face and eyes.
  • DIY summer moisture. You can combat dry air with a humidifier or essential oil diffuser. If you find yourself suffering from dry skin or eyes, use some high-quality lotion and eye drops to minimize the effect of dry air. And when in doubt, turn the heat off for a few minutes to give your eyes a rest.
  • Skip the contacts. While you don't have to do this every day, leaving off your contacts in favor of regular glasses can minimize the uncomfortable aspects of winter weather, like dry/watery eyes, itching, and eye strain. (If you're worried about prescription lenses, we've got you covered. Check out Bomber Rx!)

With the right pair of sunglasses and a few careful practices, you can have a safe, fun, and stylish winter season. We'll meet you on the slopes!