Winter’s frigid temperatures and winter-like weather are finally settling into Boulder County. Along with Colorado’s gorgeous winters, there is a risk that dropping temperatures, stronger winds, and dryer air will adversely affect the health of our eyes. The bright sun’s reflection on snow and a trip up higher elevations also pose particular difficulties. It’s the reason it’s so important to pay attention to your eye health in the winter months.
These are the most frequently reported issues. Here are some guidelines to help you maintain your eyes during winter.
Eyes dry in winter
Tears are composed of fatty oils, water, and mucous which form the protection of the surface of our eyes. While our eyes are always producing tears, they are also able to evaporate. If this cycle is in balance our eyes function properly and feel great. In winter, cold air stores more water than warmer air. and dry eyes become more prevalent. The wind can also increase the rate of evaporation. This is the reason that most people suffer from eye irritation on the coldest days due to these causes. The signs of dry eyes could include itchiness, redness, burning, stickiness, or the sensation of a foreign body within the eyes.
A variety of measures can be helpful with dry eyes:
- Buy over-the-counter artificial tears, like Refresh and Systane. These are products that complement natural tears and can be used as often as six times per day. Certain preservative-free versions can be used more frequently. Apply drops of artificial tears before heading towards the frigid cold the wind to keep your eyes warm;
- Utilize humidifiers to enhance your indoor climate;
- If you are at house, reduce drafts, stay clear of fans and make sure that heating vents are kept to the side of your face. These strategies help to reduce the loss of moisture that occurs when air circulates across your eyes.
- Avoid cigarette smoke. Smoking cigarettes can cause eye irritation;
- Always wear glasses or sunglasses when you are outside. Make sure you keep your eye moisture, particularly during activities in which the air swiftly moves across your eyes like skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling.
- Reduce the number of contact lenses you wear. Lenses can remove tears from your eyes.
- For severe or chronic dry eyes, consult an Ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are doctors of the medical or osteopathic profession who is specialized in the field of eye and vision treatment. They are certified in a wide range of treatments for dry eyes, which includes the placement of tear plugs to the ducts. These tiny devices can be quickly and easily placed into your eyes to alleviate dry eyes.
Watery eyes as well as cold winter weather
Watery eyes are commonplace as we venture out into the colder winter weather. As colder temperatures cause more loss of water in the eye, it is left with a smaller cushion of tears which protects the delicate cells on the surface of our eyes. This can cause a reflex to tell that the lacrimal gland (the eye gland which secretes an aqueous tear film) releases more tears. This means that tears may saturate our eyes, and spill onto our cheeks.
In this situation, tears are caused by evaporation. Treatment for watery eyes is comparable to treating dry eyes.
The phenomenon of snow blindness
Photokeratitis is the medical term used for snow blindness that is caused due to damage to the cornea’s cornea’s surface cells due to UV sunlight. While we are subject to UV light throughout the year, reflections caused by snow increase this light exposure. This is the reason why photokeratitis tends to be diagnosed during winter. The cornea cells contain more nerve endings than other places in your body, making snow blindness very painful. The damage, though usually temporary, may cause blurred vision. UV light may damage the retina at the rear of the eye too.
The best method to avoid blindness from snow is to stay away from excessive exposure to UV. All sunglasses and ski goggles for women and men sold within the United States are required to be equipped with filters that stop all UVA and UVB Rays. The need to wear appropriate protection when playing snow sports is crucial.
The treatment for snow blindness requires the patient to rest with their eyes closed for between 12 and 48 hours. Ophthalmologists can offer an ailment or symptomatic relief as you require.