Winter weather is here and for some of us that means more time indoors, cranking up the furnace, and maybe making a fire in the fireplace. For others, it’s the green light to get outside and play. No matter where this weather leads you, we have tips and tricks to keep your eyes safe and just as comfortable as the rest of your body.

If you already battle with dry itchy eyes, cold weather may be your worst enemy. The air is drier everywhere you go – inside and out – which means your cornea and ducts are working overtime to keep your eyes moist. Not to worry though – our LipiView and LipiFlow system is your secret weapon against dry eye syndrome. We were one of the first practices in the region with the LipiView Ocular Surface Interferometer, a camera of sorts that easily measures your tears’ lipid levels and helps us decide how to treat your dry eyes. From there we’ll know if you could benefit from LipiFlow therapy. Through localized heat and pressure, you gain relief as your glands are opened up and better able to provide natural moisture. It’s almost like a hot stone massage for your eyes! In between LipiFlow sessions, you, and everyone else, can benefit from the following tricks to keep dry eyes at bay:

  • Keep as many houseplants as possible and place them in the rooms where you spend the most time; run humidifiers in those rooms too!
  • That fire may be beautiful and beckoning you, but the further you are from it, the happier your eyes will be.
  • Carry over-the-counter eye drops, but talk to us about prescription drops if you find you’re using them more than twice a day.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule when you’re using a screen: every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water and be sure you’re eating these eye-nurturing foods every day: beans; green leafy vegetables; broccoli; foods with essential fatty acids like salmon; and sources of vitamin E like wheat germ and sweet potatoes. These all help increase the lipid layer of your eyes.

And for those of us who can’t curl up all day with a book and mug of tea, we have two critical items for you: goggles and glasses. Whether you’re out running errands, shoveling snow or skiing down the mountain, your eyes need protection from the sun, wind and potential falls. Please do not store your sunglasses away until summer – your eyes need protection from those UV rays all year round! And if you’re out there on a board or set of skis, invest in a good pair of goggles and wear them! Not only will they protect your eyes from the wind, but they’ll also cut down on glare and, most importantly, block any rocks, sticks or poles from making their way to your eye space. This could mean the difference between seeing those beautiful mountains firsthand for 20 more years or spending 20 more years with only the memories of what they looked like.

Finally, please add an eye exam for the whole family to your list of rituals for welcoming the New Year. It’s a great way to keep track of that yearly appointment, and excellent for not only monitoring your eye health but your overall health too. Come on in, and we’ll celebrate 2018 together!

Dr. Robert Eden
Dr. Robert Eden
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Union College in 1999, Dr. Eden received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 2002. He completed an internship at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (Boston, MA) and residency at the Nassau University Medical Center (East Meadow, NY) before returning to the Capital District for fellowship training in corneal and refractive surgery at Cornea Consultants of Albany in 2007. During the subsequent two years, Dr. Eden maintained a busy practice in Queens, NY, where he served on staff at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Caritas Medical Centers and The New Parkway Hospital. He also operated at Laser One (New York, NY) and at the MacKool Eye Institute (Astoria, NY) where he performed cornea, cataract and laser vision correction surgery. Dr. Eden returns to Albany as a board-certified, fellowship-trained cornea, cataract and refractive surgery specialist. His practice focuses on state-of-the-art medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases, from dry eye to artificial cornea. He has experience in routine, as well as complex, cataract surgery including placement of the latest intraocular lenses to reduce spectacle dependence, traditional and partial thickness corneal transplantation (DSAEK), and refractive surgery from LASIK to phakic IOL.

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