If your eyes are dry, pharmacist Sherry Torkos has a reminder for you: think to blink.
“We naturally blink about 12 times per minute, but when working on a computer, or focusing on a device, that decreases to 5 times per minute. This results in eye strain and dry, irritated eyes,” Torkos said.
Torkos added that winter is typically drying and that eye dryness is worsened for those who are glued to their screens.
Here are some tips Torkos shares for managing dry eyes:
- Blink frequently. Blinking squeezes the tiny oil glands around the eye that release lubricating fluid.
- Take breaks from screen time. Every 20-30 minutes step away from the screen, go for a walk or do some stretches. This also gives your back and backside a break.
- Use lubricating eye drops frequently. Look for an eye drop that contains the natural lubricant hyaluronic acid and eyebright and one that is free of preservatives. (Many people are sensitive to the preservatives.)
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes against wind and dust.
- Run a humidifier in your bedroom at night. This will add vital moisture to the air.
- Add more healthy fats to your diet, such as fish, avocado and olive oil. Consider omega-3 supplements to complement your diet.
To keep your skin hydrated, Torkos suggests applying a good moisturizer after bathing.
“Look for products that containing shea butter, coconut oil and vitamin E. Drink lots of water throughout the day,” she said.
“If you are exercising or experiencing a fever, opt for an oral rehydration solution to replace fluids and vital electrolytes,” said Torkos. (The pharmacist says, “Think to drink” water and electrolytes.)
“To manage a dry nose, apply a nasal lubricant throughout the day and especially at night,” she added.
Sherry Torkos also has tips to ward off the ‘winter blahs’.
“The dark days of winter can make getting out of a bed a challenge for even the biggest winter enthusiast. Feelings of sadness, lethargy, irritability could mean the winter blues, a condition that affects about 30 per cent of Canadians,” Torkos said.
Torkos suggests considering these strategies to support your mood during winter months:
- Get outdoors as much as possible to have exposure to natural light and to get exercise, which is a natural mood elevator.
- Try light therapy. Portable home light boxes mimic natural light and have been found to help improve mood and energy.
- Follow a healthy diet with good fats (fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil), complex carbohydrates (high fibre whole grains, beans and legumes) and lean proteins (eggs, fish, and Greek yogurt).
- Consider a vitamin D supplement. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for a recommendation.
- Choose your beverages wisely. Alcohol is a depressant so minimize it and opt for more water, herbal tea and juice.
- Make sure to get enough sleep at night. Lack of sleep can worsen mood as well as memory and concentration.