Let’s face it, winter is hard on our bodies and especially hard on our skin. Cold temperatures and precipitation can also take a toll on our delicate eyes. Good news, there are a few simple things that you can do to give your eyes that extra protection they deserve this winter and some excellent natural fixes to ease pain, inflammation, and irritation
What cold weather does to eyes (remedies below)
If you live in a climate that experiences winter weather, you are probably familiar with these weather-related eye conditions.
The cold air outside and the heated air inside is often dry. This lack of humidity often causes dry skin, lips, and eyes. Winter winds also dry out your eyes, leaving them red and scratchy.
What you can do: To keep your eyes from drying out, be sure to drink more water than usual and increase your intake of omega’3s. Running a humidifier in your bedroom can increase the air quality and moisture level in your home. Also, always protect your eyes using a full face mask or scarf when you go out in the elements.
Although some winter skies might be gloomy, the glare of the sun off of snow and ice can create a reflective surface that can be irritating for sensitive eyes. You might experience excessive blinking and discomfort because of this reflection. Some people can develop a condition termed as snow blindness which is a result of UV damage – especially if your eyes itch and burn.
What you can do: Invest in a pair of high-quality sunglasses and wear them any time you are outdoors, even if the skies are grey.
Hostile winds, cold temperatures, and exposure to precipitation can all cause inflammation and redness of the eyes. After prolonged exposure to the elements, you may experience swollen eyelids or even discoloration of your eyes. You may also have involuntary eyelid spasms or tics if your eyes are particularly bothered. Redness may be the result of dry eye or even snow blindness.
What you can do: Keep your eyes protected at all times when outdoors. To reduce inflammation and pain, apply a cool compress.
Many people experience dry eyes in winter, but some actually have the opposite problem. Excess tearing and runny noses seem to go together and are generally caused by nippy winds, cold air, or seasonal allergies. Pay attention when your eyes tear up to determine the cause.
What you can do: If you notice that you have issues with excessive tearing when you step outside or when the wind blows, be sure to wear sunglasses and protect your eyes anytime out are out in the weather.
Not all sunburns come in the form of red and blistered skin. Prolonged exposure to bright and reflective winter light can damage your eyes. Eye sunburn and snow blindness (mentioned above) occur at the same time. You are most likely to experience UV damage when you are enjoying winter sports like sledding or skiing or are at higher elevations.
Try these simple home remedies to relieve sore, itchy, red and irritated eyes.
Tears are comprised of oil, water, and mucus. To keep your eyes moist and healthy, they need all three. Winter weather can make your eyes inflamed and dry. To ease the irritation, wet an organic washcloth with warm water, wring it out and place it over your closed eyes for a minute or two.
Press the edge of your eyelid with your finger to help squeeze out any clogged oils. Do this daily to relieve sore, tired, and weather-beaten eyes.
Chamomile is soothing and contains anti-inflammatory properties. To make a soothing eyewash and compress solution, stir one teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers into one cup of boiled water. Steep for five minutes, strain, and let cool. Wash eyes out using a clean eyecup. You can also use this mixture as a cold compress.
Perhaps one of the best-known home remedies for easing eye irritation, cucumber slices really work. Cut two slices of cumber and place them in cold water for ten minutes.
Lay in a comfortable position and place the cucumbers on your eyes for ten minutes while you relax. Cucumbers are full of powerful antioxidants and flavonoids that reduce irritation and help with eye discomfort.
The use of witch hazel dates back to the early native Americans who used this compound derived from the Hamamelis virginiana, a type of shrub that is native to North America.
Research shows that witch hazel topically applied to the skin can ease inflammation and irritation. To use for inflammed winter eyes, dip clean cotton pads in a little witch hazel and place on your closed eyes.
Warm Milk and Raw Honey
Honey is loaded with powerful anti-bacterial properties. A combination of warm milk and raw honey make a very effective eye compress solution, or you can use an eyedropper and place 2-3 drops in your eye several times a day to reduce inflammation and itchy, dry eyes. This solution is also very effective for conjunctivitis.
Protect the sensitive skin on your face and around your eyes with coconut oil before going outdoors. Coconut oil moisturizes and feeds dry and windblown skin and can keep your eyes looking and feeling their best. Smooth a thin layer over your face and under and over your eye area for winter protection.
Note: With any home remedy that you are using in or on your eyes, be sure all your containers and utensils are sanitized before you make the solution.