Winter time is here!! And as most people would expect, the holidays are a very popular time of the year. But the winter also comes with extreme temperatures, humidity and precipitation, so don’t let it affect your vision!
Be on the lookout for these common eye conditions this winter and hopefully, you will comfortably enjoy the season without any problems.
Cold outdoor air and heated indoor air often have less moisture than other seasonal environments. In the winter, you may experience dry skin, chapped lips, and dry eyes due to this low humidity. Cold winter winds may also dry your eyes out. To learn more about dry eyes, visit the linked website at Dry Eyes.
To minimize the drying ability of winter air, keep yourself hydrated. Use non-preserved artificial tears several times a day. Running an humidifier in your home to improve the quality of your indoor air will help as well.
While some people experience a lack of tears in the winter, others have the opposite problem. Excess tearing and runny eyes can occur due to cold air, biting winds, or seasonal allergies. Pay attention to when your eyes tear up to determine the cause. If your eyes start to water when you step outside or when the wind blows your way, wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes. Although it seems strange using additional artificial tears for teary eyes, nonetheless they can lessen this reflex tearing.
If you experience excess tearing and itching while indoors, try an allergy medication and appropriate eye drops to reduce the effect of seasonal allergies. If you cannot determine the cause of your watery eyes or if over-the-counter treatments have no effect, especially if the wateriness alters your vision, see an eye doctor.
Winter skies can seem dark and gloomy, but snowfall and ice create many reflective surfaces that can dramatically increase the amount of light that reaches your eyes. If you have sensitive eyes, you may experience even more blinking, discomfort, tearing and other symptoms in bright winter light.
Some individuals develop new light sensitivity during winter due to a condition known as “snow blindness”. Always protect your eyes with UV filtering glasses or ski goggles when going outdoors for long periods of time, including when walking, shoveling snow, or other winter activities.
Harsh winter conditions can cause redness, tenderness, and inflammation in the eye area. You may have swollen eyelids or redness over the normally-white part of the eye (the conjunctiva which covers the white sclera).
This redness could result from dry eye or seasonal allergies. Use non-preserved artificial tears every 2-3 hours. To reduce the discomfort of inflamed eyes, apply a cool compress, such as a damp washcloth and take an over-the-counter oral pain medication. If your symptoms persist, see an eye doctor to determine the cause of the irritation.
While many winter eye health problems result from increased light or decreased moisture, you can also experience eye conditions caused by cold temperatures.
If you notice vision changes while out in the cold, move to a warm area as soon as possible. Use non-preserved artificial tears every 2-3 hours to to keep your eyes moist. If your normal vision doesn’t return after 30 minutes or so, seek medical attention.
If you experience any of the seasonal problems listed above for a prolonged period, consult your eye doctor.