Asheville, NC is in the midst of experiencing some of the coldest temperatures in several decades. With lows in the single digits and below zero commonplace throughout Buncombe and Henderson counties, and accompanying low dew points and exceptionally dry air, Asheville residents must include "winter eye care" in their New Year's resolutions.
Even though there are indications of a potential warm up toward the middle and end of January, February and March may bring more cold and dry air to the mountains. In this article, we are discussing several steps for protecting your eyes during the winter months.
How the Weather Affects Your Eyes
Though we are in the southeast, extreme cold in our area is often accompanied by exceptionally dry air. The temperature and lack of moisture can cause or exacerbate issues with your eyes, such as:
- Dry Eyes
- Excessive Tearing
- Red/Swollen Eyes
- Burning Eyes
- Sensitivity to Light
It is common to experience some measure of these symptoms. For the most part, they are treatable with simple changes you can do at home.
1) Make an Appointment with an Optometrist
If you have any concern that you are experiencing pain or discomfort beyond what you would expect or have experienced in the past in similar weather, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. If you are new to the area, or you are looking for an eye care doctor, contact Asheville Vision Associates.
Your eye care professionals can help determine whether your discomfort is a greater concern, as well as provide additional tips and resources for protecting your eyes during winter cold snaps.
2) Use a Humidifier in Your Home
Throughout the year, your Heating and Air conditioning systems heats, cools, and dehumidifies your home’s air, to make it more comfortable for you and your family. However, with dew point in the single digits and below zero at times this winter, your HVAC system may be making the air in your home too dry for your eyes.
If your eyes are red, itchy, and/or scratchy, consider using a humidifier inside your home to add moisture back into the air.
3) Beware of Indoor Allergies
Asheville allergy sufferers often look to winter for relief from runny noses, scratchy throats, and itchy eyes; however, dust, dander, and mold may be initiating symptoms and irritating your eyes. If you suspect indoor allergies are the source of your eye discomfort, consider inspecting, or having your home inspected for mold.
4) Increase Your Omega-3 Intake
If your eyes are dry and itchy, consider eating more fish. As strange as it may sound, fish oil can help increase your tear production, helping ease the pain of dry eyes.
5) Stay Hydrated
In the cold of winter, we might all increase our coffee and hot chocolate intake, often to the neglect of water. In order to help protect your eyes from the dryness of winter, make sure you are staying hydrated.
6) Wear Glasses or Goggles
Especially on windy days, or when performing activities such as running, cycling, etc., wear glasses or goggles while outside. By taking steps to protect your eyes, you can potentially avoid regular discomfort and future damage. Nothing will replace regular visits to your optometrist. If you need to schedule an appointment with an eye care professional in Asheville, NC, contact us.