Winter can be an especially brutal time of year, not only for our skin and body, but more specifically our eyes. You may have noticed that your vision isn’t as sharp as it usually is in the winter, or you may experience more frequent minor health problems (such as headaches). The cold can affect our vision health, too! Here are four of the ways the cold weather can impact vision health.
Cold weather is unpleasant to many of us, perhaps because it can dry out our skin and cause frostbite when we are not careful. For those of us who frequent the outdoors in the winter, this is a common problem. However, we are also at risk of drying out our eyes. Any skin we leave exposed is at risk for drying out and becoming frostbitten, and our eyes are no different. While you likely won’t get frostbite, it is more likely that your eyes will lose moisture quickly in the cold. Using eye drops to supplement moisture is helpful, or staying out of the cold as much as possible!
Winter brings cold temperatures, and with the temperature drops, snow comes. Looking out a window on a sunny day can be blinding if you stare too long! Even driving in snowy conditions can hurt your eyes because of the sun’s brightness reflecting off the white crystals. This causes eye strain, which can manifest as frequent headaches, etc. It’s recommended that you wear sunglasses when you drive in the winter, even on cloudy days, to reduce sun exposure.
As stated before, sun exposure in the winter is intensified because of its reflection off the snow. While this can cause eye strain, it can also cause retinal damage over time. We may not see the sun as frequently in the colder months, but it is still intense because of the snow we receive. Looking at the snow on a bright day (for an extended period of time) can be as damaging as staring at the sun. It’s always best to limit exposure by wearing sunglasses when you go out in the winter.
If you are exposed to the cold for an extended period of time, without eye protection, it can cause your vision to become temporarily poor. The cold constricts your blood vessels, making your vision less sharp and therefore possibly blurry. The best way to avoid this is to limit cold exposure and keep your eyes hydrated.
The easiest way to keep your eyes healthy this winter is to follow a few simple guidelines. We recommend keeping your eyes moist, limiting cold exposure, and wearing protective sunglasses. These will keep you and your eyes happy until the snow begins to melt!