Most people already know that winter weather wreaks havoc on the skin and hair, causing it to become dry, flaky, and brittle, yet few are aware that eyes also suffer when temperatures plunge. However, the reduced humidity levels of typical winter weather also have negative effects on eyes, often causing them to become red and itchy. Indoor air is also drier in the winter when furnaces and wood heating devices are a part of the picture. Those who experience this are advised to use a humidifier in their home and to keep well-hydrated. Following are several other conditions that may affect your eyes during the cold season.
Too Much Tearing
Some people experience the exact opposite of dry eyes — too much tearing. This has a variety of causes. If you live in an area with lots of conifer trees, you could be allergic to their pollen. Excess tearing could also be simply a reaction on the part of your eyes to respond to irritants such as wind. Try to protect your eyes as much as possible when you go outdoors by wearing a good pair of sunglasses.
Light sensitivity is caused by anything from snow and ice on the ground to the increased use of artificial lighting in homes and offices. Also, if you routinely drive to or from work in the dark, you’ll have to content with headlights. If you participate in snow sports or otherwise spend time outdoors when the ground is covered in snow, you should keep your eyes protected by wearing a pair of sunglasses with UV protectant — you’ll be getting a double dose of UV rays since they reflect off the surface of the snow.
Constricted Blood Vessels
Cold temperatures cause the blood vessels in the eyes to constrict, and this can cause your vision to become blurry. In extreme cases, you may even see double. This is most likely to happen after you’ve spent several hours outdoors in freezing temperatures.
Your local optometrist has solutions for any seasonally related eye problem. Please contact us for more information.