Protecting Your Eyes in the Winter

During the winter months, we do our best to stay safe and warm, but we don’t often think about protecting our eyes. However, the winter sun can be as taxing on our eyes as in the summer months. If you are heading to work, hitting the slopes, or simply cozying up next to the fire, be aware of your surroundings. Here are easy steps to take to protect your eyes during the winter time.

1. Wear UV Protected Sunglasses

Ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm our eyes in the winter, especially when they are bouncing off the snow. Water reflects up to 65% of sunlight, but snow reflects close to 80%.

Even on the cloudiest days, UV rays can penetrate the clouds. It is important to wear sunglasses when you are outside or driving to shield your eyes from these harmful rays.

The more time you spend in the sun, the greater the chance of developing skin cancer around the eye area. As the days lengthen when nearing springtime, the sun’s rays will be even more intense.

2. Keep Eyes Moist

In the winter, your eyes are more likely to be exposed to dry, hot, blowing air from a furnace or fireplace, and it can cause them to become irritated and parched. This dry air can cause severe discomfort if you are currently suffering from dry eye. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Use eye drops to moisturize your eyes.
  • Stay away from direct heat sources while sitting.
  • Use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air.

3. Practice Good Hygiene

Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is more common in the winter months. Pinkeye is contagious and is spread from person to person through physical contact. Frequently used items such as doorknobs or elevator buttons can harbor the virus or bacteria. It can even spread from one of your eyes to the other.

To stay protected from the risk of pinkeye, wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes. If you do develop conjunctivitis, make an appointment with your eye doctor for treatment.

4. Wear Eye Protection

When doing outdoor activities, it is easy for debris such as dirt, slush, or ice to get into your eyes. It is even more likely for fragments to get into your eyes while hiking or skiing. Sunglasses are not enough protection for these types of activities. To receive maximum protection, wear goggles. Choose a pair that has enough room for sunglasses underneath or better yet, find a pair with UV protection built in.

5. Wear a Hat or Visor

Hats that have brims can lower the UV rays from reaching your eyes. Visors and hats are effective at blocking the rays from penetrating the gap between your forehead and the top of your sunglasses.


Northern Vision Eye Care places our patients’ eye health as our top priority. We carry a wide variety of sunglasses from top brands that will protect your eyes during the winter season. Contact us today for an appointment!

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