Winter presents its own set of unique challenges to our health, and our eyes are not immune to suffering. Be on the lookout for these four common eye conditions.
It makes sense that cold winter air is typically drier than the air during warmer seasons, but you might not realize how the low humidity affects your eyes. Cases of dry eye tend to flare up during the colder months. You aren’t helpless in fighting this foe, however. You’ll want to stay hydrated, eat plenty of healthy fats and use a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep to inject moisture into the air.
Dry cold air isn’t the only enemy. When compounded with strong winds, your eyes (and tissue around them) can become irritated. You can find relief by applying a cold, wet cloth or towel to the affected area.
Sensitivity to Light
When the environment is darker, snow and ice-covered areas provide a stark contrast and reflect a lot more light than you might expect. These conditions lead to light sensitivities for many people. If you notice discomfort, twitching, or you find yourself blinking more often, it may be time for protective eyewear. Think polarized, UV-graded sunglasses.
As crazy as it sounds, it’s also possible to suffer from a sunburn on your eyes in the winter especially if you enjoy outdoor sports. This is because reflected sunlight from snow and ice increases your chances of getting a sunburn on exposed areas of your body. See your eye doctor to address any symptoms and to prevent long term damage. Cumulative UV damage to your eyes is not something to brush off, as it can cause vision loss and macular degeneration. So, consider this a reminder to always wear protective goggles and glasses, especially during winter activities.
Vision Changes and Snow Blindness
The Midwest has set record temperatures for cold in recent years. Extreme temperatures can mean blood flow is restricted to many parts of the body as a protective mechanism. When blood flow to your eyes is restricted, it’s possible to notice light sensitivity, double vision, and vision loss. If you’re concerned that something is amiss, move inside immediately and monitor your vision. If your sight doesn’t return to normal within 30 minutes, then seek medical care immediately.
Regardless of the season, know that we’re in your corner. Your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor can work with you to preserve your eye health and vision as you age. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today and enjoy peace of mind.