Written by Dr. Sherman Tung, OD, FAAO, President of B.C. Doctors of Optometry
With Winter here, it means many British Columbians are hitting the slopes! While many love the thrill of flying downhill, optometrists don’t want your eye health to do the same. As a B.C. Doctor of Optometry, I see many patients with eye health issues that could easily be prevented with proper eye protection. To help protect your eyes from the great outdoors, be sure to take the appropriate eye-health precautions. Below are some tips to help you separate the eye protection facts from fauxs:
Wear eye goggles and/or sunglasses to block damaging UV rays. UV rays are strongest when you are at the highest altitude of a mountain, which is often where you’re skiing or snowboarding. Don’t forget that the highest exposure to UV rays is at mid-day and the reflection of sunlight from the snow into your eyes can have damaging long-term effects to your vision such as cataracts or macular retinopathies. Don’t be fooled by the clouds – you’re still at risk!
When purchasing your eye goggles it’s important to understand that different tints are meant for different weather conditions. Purchasing goggles with interchangeable lenses is your safest option. Be sure to consult your BC Doctor of Optometry to select suitable eyewear and to ensure they are the correct prescription (if needed) for your eyes.
During the winter, dry air and low temperatures are two of the causes of dry eyes – your eyes may feel extremely irritated and red. To help with these symptoms, you may try artificial tears or increase your intake of Omega 3. If your symptoms continue to persist, have a dry eye evaluation with your Doctor of Optometry. They will have different options to treat your dry eyes.
If you experience any severe symptoms such as blurry vision, sore eyes, sensitivity to light, or redness, visit your local Doctor of Optometry as soon as possible. Find a Doctor near you at www.bc.doctorsofoptometry.ca.
Be proactive with your eye health this winter to help prevent any potentially harmful effects to your vision. Remember, the most important thing that you can do for your eyes is to get regular eye exams from your Doctor of Optometry. We recommend infants have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age. Children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and yearly after starting school. Adults should have an eye exam every two years and seniors annually.
Stay safe this winter!
Dr. Sherman Tung practices at his own clinic, Avenue Eyecare, based in Kerrisdale, Vancouver.
For more information about your eye health needs, visit www.bc.doctorsofoptometry.ca.