During The Season Of Winter The Human Eyes Require Extra Care

During The Season Of Winter The Human Eyes Require Extra Care

Dr Ananya

Dr Ananya Ganguly, Consultant Paediatric and Comprehensive Ophthalmology Services, Disha Eye Hospitals

Most of us tend to take extra care of the eyes during summer months completely ignoring the winters. It is extremely important for you to be aware that winters leave your eyes more vulnerable than the summers. The primary reason behind this is the fact that the sun is at a different angle to the earth. This different position of the sun implies that people are exposed to glare and UV rays. Moreover, during winters, we tend to spend more time outdoors, exposing our eyes to more problems. Children and outdoor workers are at a greater risk as they tend to spend longer hours outdoors.

To understand the extent of damage that the sun could affect the children, it is important to look at the relationship between UV rays, the eyes and winter.

1. UV Light ages all structures of the eye. Corneal Damage, Cataracts and Macular Degeneration are all possible Chronic Effects from UV Exposure and can ultimately lead to decreased vision.
2. The eyelid skin is thinnest of the whole body. UV damage induces dryness, wrinkles, accentuated skin, furrows, sagging, loss of elasticity and mottled pigmentation. UV light is associated with Skin Cancers including squamous cell carcinomas, basal cell carcinomas and cutaneous melanoma. Squamous cell carcinoma can occur not just on the skin but on the conjunctiva and invade the cornea and inside of the eye. In some cases necessitating removal of the entire eye.
3. The front surface of the eye absorbs 99 percent of the UV radiation. On the surface of the eye, this UV damage predisposes to cancerous growth as well as noncancerous growths like pterygium and pinguecula. Damage to the Cornea can occur when UV light is reflected off the water, like when you are engaging in water sports or skiing.
4. The Sunlight exposure and UV exposure have been found to be associated with Cataract. The damage is irreversible. The only treatment for Cataract that is affecting activities of daily living is surgery.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests some winter eye care techniques-

If you are exposed for long hours to indoor heaters, your eyes need to be treated with a humidifier. The reason is because these heaters typically tend to dry up the moisture in the air causing irritation and dryness.

It is important to limit your exposure to the outdoors especially if you use contact lenses. If you are using soft lenses, keep in mind that soft lenses require a great deal of moisture and if they tend to dry then they can stick and change the shape of your eyes. Limiting your alcohol intake would be a wise step in this situation.

Hooded jackets or brimmed caps are not just a good idea for the fashion conscious. They tend to protect the tear film from evaporation during the winter months.

To protect the delicate region around the eyes from the harsh winter weather, it is a good idea to apply a good quality eye cream around the eyes

Often looking after our teeth, skin or face and following the latest dietary trends we tend to take our eyes for granted.

Our eyes are probably the most underrated part of our body. Our eyes need special care especially in winter when the eyes tend to dry up leading to inflammation. Our eyes are extra delicate and sensitive. Here are a few pointers that will help looking after the eyes during the winters –

a. Eating right: Eating right is vital for the eyes. Luckily, winter brings in abundant fruits and vegetables that are good for the eyes. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is good for the retina. Foods like fish oil, cod liver oil and vegetable oils contain omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids that are beneficial for the eyes these acids prevent the eyes from drying up. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, coriander leaves, kale, mustard greens all contain lutein which can help to prevent and perhaps reverse macular degeneration.

b. Wearing sunglasses: wearing sunglasses should not only be limited to the summer days but should also be worn during the winters. These sunglasses protect our eyes from the UV rays of the sunlight. In case someone is travelling to the mountains, sunglasses are an absolute must as the snow reflects back harmful UV rays. Also these sunglasses will help in preventing drying of the eyes to a certain degree.

c. Quit smoking: It is known worldwide about the ill effects of smoking but very few know that smoking is more injurious to the eyes than lungs. This is sad but true that smoking can lead to increased chances of cataracts, macular degeneration and also optic nerve damage!

d. Eye strain: This is an extremely common problem- constant viewing of the computer screen can be hazardous. Taking tiny breaks from the computer screen at regular intervals is beneficial to the eyes in the long run.

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