How will winters affect your eyes

Winter season brings so much with it – holidays, festivals and a lot of joy. However, the season also comes with extreme temperatures and precipitation.

While we protect our hands and ears with gloves and ear muffs, you should also know that harsh cold weather can impact your eyes as well. It’s important to understand that in winter, eye care is more than you may realise. The freezing air sucks the moisture from your eyes and the warm air indoors can dry your eyes further, damaging your vision. And, if you happen to be in those beautiful snowy terrains, the harmful UV reflection coming from the snow can lead to blurry vision as well. Therefore, it is essential to understand what measures can be taken to protect your eyesight from the cold climate.

Find out more about these conditions and what steps can be taken to alleviate them.

Dryness

In the frosty weather, you may experience dry skin, chapped lips and dry eyes due to constant change in the temperature. Such annoying conditions are caused due to low humidity since cold outdoor air and heated indoor air often has less moisture in them. To tackle the issue of dry eyes, you need to keep yourself hydrated and increase your intake of Omega-3, as fish oil can help stimulate tear production. You may also consider running a humidifier in your home to improve the quality of indoor air.

Excess tearing

While some people experience dryness in the winter season, others may experience excessive tears and runny eyes due to cold air. The reason behind this is simple: your eyes need to stay lubricated to see, which isn’t the case in cold, dry winter air. The wind and lack of moisture lead your eyes to tear up. Your eyes are basically trying to keep themselves at max visibility and minimum discomfort. When the tears overwhelm your tear ducts, they make a dramatic exit. To reduce teary eyes, the best solution would be using eye drops. But before any medications, it’s essential to consult a doctor. Whenever you head outside, make sure to wear protective eyewear.

Light sensitivity

Winter skies often seem dark and gloomy, whereas snowfall and ice create reflective surfaces that can dramatically increase the amount of light in the environment. Sensitive eyes can cause you more blinking, discomfort and other symptoms in bright winter light. This condition can be tackled by using polarized sunglasses. If you wear prescription glasses, you can opt powered sunglasses.

Redness

The harsh winter season can also cause redness, tenderness and inflammation in the eye area. There are possibilities of swollen eyelids or discoloration of your eyes. The cold and breezy conditions cause dry eyes which lead to redness. The eyes are naturally watery and have a protective case that prevents the moisture in our eyes from evaporating. It works perfectly in warm weather, but in the cold freezing winter, the protective case shrink, making it harder to prevent the evaporation. The lack of moisture irritates and this, in turn, leads to inflammation. Eventually, the eyes become red and sore.

Sunburn

The sun in the winter season seems calm, but it is harmful and the harsh UV rays can cause severe damage to the eyes. You are most vulnerable to UV damage when participating in outdoor activities at high altitudes. It’s essential to use UV protected sunglasses while engaging in sports activities such as skiing and sledging. Visit an optometrist immediately if you experience the symptoms including blurred vision, swollen lids or burning sensation.

Vision changes

Extreme low temperatures cause the blood vessels in and around the eyes to constrict, further causing immediate vision changes such as blurriness and double vision. If you notice vision changes while out in the cold, moving to a warmer climate is crucial. Seeking medical attention is essential if the conditions don’t improve.

If you experience any of the eye problems listed above, consult an eye expert and give your eyes the quintessential care they need. Remember the most critical tip this winter season – wear your sunglasses and don’t forget to keep your eyes hydrated as they let you see the world.

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