The tears your body produces helps to clean the surface of your eyes and protect your eyes from infection. Tears also help prevent your contact lenses from irritating your eyes. In winter, the air is dryer and your tears evaporate more quickly. This quick evaporation can cause pain, itchiness and infection. Knowing how to protect your eyes while wearing contact lenses in winter can help you avoid problems and discomfort.
Humidify Your Home
The weather outside might be extra dry, but it doesn't have to be dry in your home. Run a humidifier in the parts of your home where you spend the most time, like in your kitchen, bedroom and living room. This will help you avoid the negative effects of the dry air and prevent your tears from drying so quickly.
Prolonged exposure to UV rays from sunshine bouncing off of snow can lead to conditions like dry eye. To prevent problems, wear sunglasses over your contact lenses when you're planning to spend long periods of time outdoors. If your sunglasses don't offer UV protection, replace them with a pair of sunglasses designed to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
Use the Right Eye Drops
It's not enough to use eye drops during the day; you must use the right kind of eye drops. Get in the habit of using rewetting eye drops as needed throughout the day. Rewetting eye drops are made to remove small particles of dirt from your contact lenses, which can help reduce the chances of infection.
Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands thoroughly any time that you're planning to handle your contact lenses. Keeping your contact lenses clean is one of the best ways to prevent infection and irritation on the surface of your eyes in winter.
Drink Lots of Water
Drinking water throughout the day will help ensure that your body can keep the surface of your eyes wet. Even if your tears dry quickly, your body can replace the tears more frequently if you're properly hydrated.
Know When to Switch to Glasses
If the winter weather is particularly dry and your eyes are painful or itchy, take out the contact lenses for a day or two. Doing this can give your eyes a chance to recover. Switch to glasses when your eyes are irritated, then put your contact lenses back in when your eyes feel better.
For more information about how you can protect your eyes and avoid problems with your contact lenses this winter, make an appointment with your optometrist (such as Jeffrey C. Fogt, OD). He or she can give you advice that will help you avoid discomfort.