Winter Eye Care Tips
Winter has arrived and I don’t know about you, but I’m itchy all over. I’ve really been noticing how dry, itchy and uncomfortable my skin and eyes are becoming. I always seem to forget that this is an annual ‘thing’ that is going to occur for me. So, I’m not sure why it always sneaks in on me and hits me so hard.
Winter air is dry
If there’s one thing that’s really annoying to me it is uncomfortable eyes. I’m already dealing with the discomfort of hybrid contact lenses and the constant struggle to… you know… see. Winter brings dry air and, for many of us, skin and eye irritation. The air outside is cold and dry, and the air inside is warm and dry. Even in the car, the heater seems to blast dry air directly into my face. Sigh…
Drying us out
That dry air really affects our skin and bodies, and our eyes are no exception. Our skin and eyes like to be moisturized. It’s a pretty simple concept. However, dry winter air seems to suck the moisture right out of both of them.
Skin and eyes that lack moisture - itch. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to help reduce the dryness in the skin (including our eyelids and the skin surrounding the under part of our eyes), as well as our eyes themselves.
Changing my hygiene routine for the season
When I start to notice this itchy feeling, I know it’s time for me to change up my hygiene routine for the winter. First, I am more diligent about using lotion to moisturize my skin. All of it; head to toe. I am sure to put gentle lotion on after I wash my face, before applying make-up, and after removing makeup - usually before bed. Gentle lotion is lotion that is dye-free and fragrance-free. Dyes and fragrances can irritate the skin even more.
Speaking of removing makeup, this part of our hygiene routine is a must all year round. Especially for those of us with macular degeneration. It’s important to keep our eyes clean, and leaving make-up on overnight is a fast way to invite infection and irritation.
I completely stay away from make-up removers, particularly during the dry, winter months. They seem to only irritate my skin and eyes further. To avoid this issue, I simply use the same gentle lotion mentioned above with a Q-tip to remove eye makeup. It works like a charm! Doing this removes my makeup and moisturizes the skin around my eyes at the same time. It’s a win, win!
Since the dry air is the culprit for dry skin and eyes in the winter, it’s important to tackle the problem face to face. An amazing tool that helps eliminate dryness in the air is a humidifier. I often use one in my bedroom and it can be helpful to have one in the main living areas of the house as well. This seems to work wonders with helping to keep the air from being too dry.
In winter (and during high allergy seasons), I also use non-medicated, moisturizing eye drops as needed. Usually, this is before and after wearing my contacts (again, when I wake up and at bedtime each day). If you have winter allergies, you may want to keep your allergy eye drops handy.
Another simple remedy for dry skin and eyes is the simple task of drinking more water. It may not sound like a big deal, but trust me, this works! I’m sure to add in a few extra tall glasses of water each day in the winter to hydrate my entire body. This is also a great way to stay healthier overall.
Wearing sunglasses in winter
I can’t end this article without my usual important reminder to wear sunglasses no matter what season we are in! It can feel more natural to wear sunglasses in warmer months. But remember, sunglasses aren’t there to protect our eyes from the heat, they protect our eyes (and fragile retinas) from the sun. They are also great at protecting our eyes from cold winter winds.
We don't have to suffer through dry, itchy skin and eyes in the winter. Knowing why this happens gives us reason to grab those humidifiers and rewetting drops to help ease the symptoms.
Do you feel that you've maintained independence with macular degeneration?