Month: November 2016

Protect Your Eyes this Winter

The Hargrave Eye Center’s latest post:

The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, and certain parts of the country have already seen their first snowfall. As these signs of winter become more and more frequent and the new season finally rolls around, people will start reaching into their closets to bundle up anytime they need to go outside. Hats, scarves, mittens, and heavy winter coats are classic choices for winter weather, but these accessories leave one critical area unprotected: the eyes. There are a number of factors that can cause irritation or damage to the eyes during the winter months, so take a look at this list of ways you can protect your eyes this winter.

Keep Your Eyes Moist

Turning up the heat in your home or sitting by the fire will keep you warm when it gets cold outside, but it will also lead to dryness and irritation in your eyes. This will particularly affect sufferers of chronic dry eye, a condition that prevents the body from properly producing tears. Try to keep your exposure to a minimum by sitting or standing farther from heat sources, and use artificial tears and/or a humidifier to soothe dryness.

Wear UV Sunglasses and Goggles

Just because temperatures have dropped doesn’t mean your eyes aren’t susceptible to sun damage during the winter. In fact, snow reflects 80% of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, so you could be at risk from UV rays striking your eyes from every angle. The effects are amplified at higher altitudes, so activities like skiing, snowboarding, or hiking during the winter come with additional risk. Protect yourself by wearing sunglasses that reflect 99 to 100% of UV light for whenever you go outside.

Also, during the winter, there are opportunities for slush, ice, and other debris to get into the eye during outdoor activities. Although sunglasses will provide some defense against foreign objects like these, wear goggles for optimal protection.

Try to Limit Your Screen Time

Spending snow days inside watching movies or browsing the web can be fun, but too much of it can be harmful to your eyes. Staring at screens that are close to your face can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated, so make sure you take regular breaks from the computer or TV.

Avoid Touching Your Eyes

You may want to rub your eyes if they become dry or irritated, but this may only aggravate your condition. Additionally, touching your eyes may allow the bacteria on your hands to get into your eyes, which can lead to infection. Refrain from touching your eyes, and use eyedrops or wash them to relieve any irritation.

from Hargrave Eye Center

6 Practices that Harm Your Eyes

The Hargrave Eye Center’s latest post:

Certain habits are common sense when it comes to taking care of your eyes, such as not staring directly into the sun or sitting directly in front of the television. Though these are commonly known to be harmful to your eyesight, there are lots of other habits people engage in that could be hurting their eyes. A recent survey says that 70 percent of people would prefer losing a limb to losing their eyesight, which is baffling as to why more people are not conscious of taking good care of their eyes. Since it’s likely that you would prefer to keep your eyesight, stop doing these six habits that can severely harm your eyes.

No protection

When you’re at the beach, you know to wear sunglasses. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that they need to wear sunglasses year-round as well, if they’re spending time outside. Even in the winter, the sun can be shining and causing damage to your eyes, especially with the way it reflects off of the snow. Always wear sunglasses that have UV protection in them and cover your entire eye.

Eyedrop happy

Some people suffer from dry eyes or want to whiten their eyes, so they use eyedrops. Unfortunately, this method can do more harm than good. Eyedrops restrict blood vessels, which causes further irritation to your eyes once the effects of the drops wear off. If you have to use eyedrops, make sure you use them sparingly.

Staring at a screen

You know not to sit too close to the television, but it can also be detrimental to be too close to a computer screen or your smartphone. Avoid setting the brightness levels too high and don’t fall asleep staring at your smartphone. When using a computer for work, sit about two feet in front of it and position the screen at a lower level than your eyes to avoid strain. It’s also important to look away from the computer every twenty minutes or so.

Improper contact care

Lots of people wear contacts, but they don’t always take the proper care of them. It’s important to never clean contacts with water and to always replace them once they’re too old. It’s also good to replace your contact case every couple of months to keep it sanitary and prevent any eye infections from occurring.

Old makeup

While some makeup can last for a while or is only used once or twice in a few weeks, it should always be replaced every few months. Different makeups have different shelf lives, but mascara is the most common to put near the eye. This makeup should be replaced every three months to avoid possible infections. Bacteria tends to grow in warm, dark places, so a mascara brush is a danger zone.

Irregular eye doctor visits

In a previous blog, I talked about eye exam habits for the people living in different cities. Research done on how often people go to see their eye doctor shows that most people do not go as often as they should, even though they consider eye health incredibly important. Make sure to go for regular eye exams, so your doctor can keep track of your eye health and prescribe the necessary lenses or medications to keep it from deteriorating.

from Hargrave Eye Center |Ocular Health Experts