Though you may not realize it, the Minnesota cold can damage your eyes. If you are brave enough to head out in the cold this winter, make sure you know the effects it can have on your health. Here are some common health issues and ways you can handle these eye problems.
The Cold’s Effect on Eyes
Winter weather can leave your eyes red, swollen and in pain. To put is scientifically, the extreme cold can constrict the blood vessels in the eye or even freeze your corneas. These conditions can lead to blurred vision, double vision, or even a loss of vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your optometrist immediately; you may need medical care to fix your vision.
Yup, sunburn; it’s not just a problem for the summer. You might not think about it in the winter, but it shouldn’t be ignored. Protecting your eyes is necessary. Your eyes can suffer from something called Photokeratitis (aka snow blindness) and may actually be more dangerous in the winter, as the snow can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s light. To prevent UV light from injuring your eyes, be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses or goggles.
Discomfort From the Cold
The frigid, cold winter wind can also cause dry eyes, which will lead to some major discomfort. This discomfort could get worse when you are out and about enjoying the snow by skiing, snowboarding, or sledding. Be sure to protect your eyes when you are out enjoying the winter weather. If your eyes are consistently dry, make sure to carry lubricating eye drops with you. For more info, check out our blog about Dry Winter Eyes from 2013.
Sadly enough, the indoors may not be completely safe for your eyes either. During the winter, there are lower humidity levels indoors (and outdoors), which may cause dry eyes. If you notice this in your home, look into purchasing a humidifier. It’s also helpful to stay well hydrated.
The winter can be hard on your eyes, but thankfully, winter eye issues are easily managed. If you experience pain in your eyes after being in an extremely cold setting, immediately get into a warm spot and seek medical attention. If you experience consistent discomfort from cold winds blowing in your eyes, cover them or bring eye drops with you. And even though you won’t be spending your weekends on the lake (unless it’s in a fish house), sunglasses aren’t a bad idea.
No matter the conditions, always remember to protect your eyes. From your friends at Infinite Eye Care, have a happy and healthy new year!