By the time you read this post, I’m afraid winter will already be upon us. I can’t say for sure, and I hope the future in which this is being read is one of above zero temperatures, sunny skies, windless days and snowless ground, but I have serious doubts about that. So, my likely-snowed-in future friend, it’s time to talk about winter safety for your eyes. Every season comes with its own potential ocular harms; allergies, a bright sun, dust, and debris. Winter is no exception; you need to take special care of your eyes.

Ever had dry lips? I’m kidding; statistically, if you’re reading this, you’re in Winnipeg, and if you’ve been in Winnipeg at any point between say, October and April, you’ve had your lips dried out. The cold sucks all the moisture out of the atmosphere, so we’re left with no humidity to stop our skin from cracking and peeling. Few people realize the lack of humidity can also affect your body’s ability to produce enough tears, so dry weather means dry eyes. You might have itchy or watery eyes, the desire to close your eyes, or even blurred vision; if these symptoms occur regularly, you might want to invest in a humidifier.

“Clear and cold” is an all too familiar weather forecast here in Winnipeg; for vision care, one of the focuses has to be on the clear. We’re all for fun in the sun, but it’s important to remember that UV rays can be harmful to the eyes. That’s why it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses all year round; wearing sunglasses at night might be a silly 80s trope, but wearing sunglasses in the winter is just a good idea. UV exposure has been linked to retinal and corneal health problems, as well as cataracts, so cover up! Snow blindness is a worry this time of the season as well (though as we may discuss in another blog post, it’s actually a worry all year round and not just linked to snow). Snow blindness can be stopped with, well, sunglasses! Wear ‘em!

One of the best ways to get through winter is to bundle up, get outside, and enjoy some winter sports. When you’re snowboarding or downhill skiing, you should always wear goggles to prevent debris from getting into your eyes; it can be a good idea to get polarized lenses for the goggles, which reduce glare and make it easier to see potential obstacles. Goggles will also help mitigate the amount of wind getting into your eye, which can slowly cause deterioration over time.

The most important safety tip in the winter? Be sure that you’re able to see! Between slippery ice patches and low-visibility conditions, your sight is incredibly important in the winter, arguably more than any other season. Go in for an eye exam if you haven’t in a while, and get your vision checked up! Should you need corrective lenses, get eyeglasses Winnipeg can trust from Eyes in the Village.