Published in the PRG winter edition 2020
By Tanya Markis-Meyer, OD
Grass Valley Eye Care
Winter is here and while we are busy bundling up our families with boots, hats, scarves, and mittens to protect our feet, heads, faces and fingers, what should we do for our eyes?
There are four common conditions that our eyes may experience with winter weather.
Cold temperatures and wind can be drying to your eyes, as well as the lower humidity levels while indoors with the heat on and windows closed. Use sunglasses and goggles to protect your eyes from harsh glare when skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating. Stay hydrated, use lubricating artificial tears when needed, and use a humidifier while indoors.
On the other end of the spectrum, the eyes can water up more with cold weather. Again, wearing sunglasses or goggles can help to protect your eyes from the elements.
Red Swollen Eyes
If your eyes are red or swollen, it can be because of constricted blood vessels in the tissues around the eyes. This can also result in eyelid spasms, excessive tearing, and blurry vision. Wear sunglasses or goggles, which will also help protect your eyes from exposure to UV light. This is even more important in the winter with reflected light from snow and ice that can lead to inflammation of the cornea.
In extremely cold and windy weather, do not force your eyes open as the cornea can actually freeze. This can be very painful and result in blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and eye lid spasms. Wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from extreme wind which can expose your eyes to even colder temperatures (wind chill factor). Contact your eye doctor immediately if you are experiencing eye pain or a strong burning sensation.
Have you picked up on the consistent theme here? Protect your eyes with sunglasses or goggles. Summer is when we traditionally think of wearing sunglasses, when the sun is shining brightly overhead. However, in the winter their importance increases as they also protect your eyes from glare and reflection from snow and ice, winter winds, and cold temperatures so that you and your family may enjoy the winter season.