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How Cold Weather Impacts Your Eyes

‘Tis the season for vision issues! Although there’s plenty to love about our winter wonderland, cold weather can increase eye issues as they are exposed to harsher conditions.

Here are some ways cold weather can impact your eyes, and how the steps you can take to protect your vision this season.

4 Ways Winter Affects Your Eye Health

With every other part of your body, you can add protection from the elements by layering up. However, your eyes are more difficult to shield from the harsh winter conditions. It’s just as important to protect your eyes in the winter weather and get proper treatment if you notice any vision changes.

Four ways in cold winter weather can impact your vision include:

  1. Dry Eye: Dry eye is often brought on by the reduced humidity levels in our homes and workplaces due to heating. Exposure to cold windy conditions outside can increase your risk for this condition.

  2. Tearing: The wind and cold winter air can make some people’s eyes tear excessively. Excess tearing and runny eyes can occur due to cold air, biting winds, or seasonal allergies. Paying attention to when your eyes tear up can help determine the cause.

  3. Redness: Harsh winter weather can cause redness, inflammation, and tenderness in the eye. The area around the eye can also be affected (for example: swollen eyelids, discoloration, eyelid spasms, or involuntary tics) if your eyes become particularly irritated.

  4. Light Sensitivity: Winter can seem dark and gloomy, but snow and ice significantly increase the amount of UV exposure your eyes experience in winter. If you have sensitive eyes, you may experience even more blinking, discomfort, and even snow blindness.

If you experience any of the cold weather issue listed above, consult with an optometrist. While some vision problems will clear up as the temperatures rise, others may become potentially dangerous without medical attention.

Protecting Your Eyes This Winter

Preventing (or reducing) the impact winter can have on your eyes is easier than you think. Taking just a few preventative measures will keep your eyes healthy and happy into spring!

These measures include:

  • Wear Quality Sunglasses: Always protect your eyes when going outdoors for longer periods. This includes when walking, shoveling snow, or even driving. Wearing polarized sunglasses with a minimum of UV400 protection during these outdoor activities will block harmful UVA and UVB rays from damaging your eyes.

  • Keep Your Eyes Moist: Stay hydrated with extra fluids and, if possible, use a hot- or cold-air humidifier to increase the humidity level in your home or office. Artificial tears can also help lubricate your eyes and increase comfort.

  • Invest In Protective Gear: If you enjoy snow sports like skiing or snowboarding, it’s important to invest in protective eyewear. Wearing goggles with UV protection will prevent eye injuries and shield your eyes from the snow’s reflection.

It’s just as important to protect your eyes as your skin in the winter. Taking these preventative steps will help you reduce the risk of vision issues during cold weather.

Visit Eden Prairie Eye Care For Your Winter Vision Needs

At Eden Prairie Eye Care, Dr. Oker will ensure that you are staying safe and protecting your eyes during the winter season. Schedule your eye appointment by calling (952) 944-2792 or schedule your appointment via our online platform.


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