Why Do My Eyes Feel Worse in Winter?

Cold weather, harsh winds, sunlight reflecting off of snow, and more time looking at screens can all contribute to dry, scratchy eyes. Here are a few tips to keep your eyes in top-top shape – and they don’t involve crunches!

Use a humidifier – Heat tends to dry the moisture in the air and cause irritation and dryness in eyes.

Switch up your contact solution – Talk with your eye care provider about natural tears or a different solution to keep your contacts from drying out your eyes.

Bundle up – Wear a hat or hooded jacket to protect your eyes from the wind, dust, and debris.

Sunglasses are not just for summer – Sunlight reflected by snow can lead to sunburned eyes. Make sure your sunglasses and snow goggles block 100% of UV rays.

Wash your hands – Prevent the spread of the flu and eye-related illnesses like conjunctivitis (pink eye) by washing your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes.

Blink more – Our blinking slows down when we engage in any activity requiring dedicated visual attention (like a computer or tablet). One way to get around this problem is to blink more, so that your eyes produce enough lubrication in the form of tears.

Eat more fish – Cold water fish, like mackerel and halibut, are packed with omega-3 based essential fatty acids, which are considered helpful in retaining moisture in your eyes.

Drink more water – One of the best ways to fight dry eyes during winter is to keep yourself hydrated. You’re mostly likely not chugging down glasses of ice water like in warmer weather. Drink up!

Don’t rub your eyes – Sure, you might get some temporary relief. But you don’t know whether or not you had some harmful bacteria or virus making its way to your eyes.

Exercise your eyes (still no crunches though!) – Many people spend evenings out in nicer weather, but during the winter end up confined indoors, usually with eyes glued to laptops, TVs, and other screens. To give your eyes a break, remove your eyes from any screen and look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds. This helps reduce digital eyestrain, which can eventually negatively affect your vision.