Whether you’re an Olympic luger in PyeongChang or skating at the Memorial Park ice rink, you need to take care of your eyes.
“Protecting your eyes against the sun’s rays can diminish the severity of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, cancer and wrinkles around the eyes,” says Dr. Rob Simons of Montana Eyecare. In addition, exposure to cold weather can cause blurred vision and dry eye symptoms.
Dr. Simons recommends you take these steps to protect your eyes while enjoying winter recreation in Montana.
• Protect your eyes from the sun. Sunglasses and goggles with less than 100 percent UV protection are an invitation to sunburn and cancer. Snow and ice reflect 80 percent of the sun’s rays, so your eyes are affected even when you’re looking down.
You should also consider getting polarized lenses. Polarization protects against glare, helping you see on bright sunny days and reducing blinding glare off roadways.
Don’t be fooled by overcast skies as the harmful UV rays are still pummeling you. Whether you’re on the slopes, the rink, or somewhere else outside, make sure you have eyewear that protects against the sun.
• Mind the spring. The sun’s rays pose the greatest danger to your eyes as winter ebbs and spring marches in. Days are longer and the sun’s rays become more direct, even if the thermometer doesn’t agree. Don’t get complacent when participating in winter sports in March and April. You still need UV protection.
• Shred the course, not your corneas. Frigid weather can literally freeze your corneas, so protect them when recreating outside in winter. Wrap-around goggles are your best bet, but make sure they are properly ventilated. Fogged up lenses are more than an inconvenience; they can blur your vision and cause a serious mishap.
• Consider tinted goggle lenses. Clear lenses are great for skiing and snowboarding in low light while tinted lenses are like sunglasses on your goggles. For daytime outdoor activities, consider tinted lenses in a color you like.
• Guard against bad breaks. Make sure whatever lenses you get – whether sunglasses or goggles – are impact-resistant. Lenses that can be shattered by a faceplant are more than embarrassing; they defeat the purpose of eye protection against cold, sun and wind. Plus, lenses breaking inward pose a danger to your eyes.
• Stay vigilant at the après ski. Winter is a time of dry eyes, especially around wood fires that drain the air of moisture. To combat dry eyes, sit further away from the fire, hydrate from the inside by drinking plenty of water and moisturize your eyes with artificial tears. You can also blink more often, enveloping your eyes in a layer of tears, and avoid rubbing your eyes.
Taking those simple precautions can keep your vision sharp and help you enjoy our long Montana winter.
550 North Montana Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
Montana Eye Care
At Montana Eyecare, our professional eye care staff will be happy to assist you with your vision needs. We have treatment options available for everyone. Whether you are interested in making an appointment for a LASIK consultation, have cataracts, need an annual eye exam, or just need glasses, we can help!
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