Winter is hard on your body. You can feel the cold to your bones in the thick of Boston winter, and it’s no wonder that those frigid days can affect your vision and overall ocular health. Dr. Kornmehl wants you to remember to take care of your eyes during this season, from blinding mornings driving through snowy streets under the sun to blurry vision from the extremely low temperatures.
Dry Eyes in Winter Months
We often notice dry skin in the winter months. The cold air outside mixed with the heated indoor spaces is the perfect storm, and there’s not enough moisture in the air to prevent your eyes from drying out. You can mitigate the itchiness, redness and irritation from dry eyes by running a humidifier, staying well hydrated and avoiding fans or air vents that blow directly at your face. If you experience dry eye symptoms such as blurry vision and discomfort using a computer screen, reading and being in windy environments, contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates to learn about your treatment options.
UV Safety During Winter
Sunglasses and sunscreen are summer staples, but these often fall to the wayside during winter. However, the sun is just as dangerous (and in some ways, more so) when it’s cold outside. Excess sun exposure without UV protection with sunglasses can increase your risk of cataracts and other eye conditions. Many people experience light sensitivity when the weather switches from dark, gloomy days to a sunny morning after fresh snowfall, and protective eyewear can save your vision and prevent the blinding effect when you’re shoveling snow or going for a walk.
The Danger of Snow Blindness
Snow blindness occurs when you expose your eyes to UV rays, either from the sun or a human-made source. The harsh light rays can damage your corneas (the surface layer of your eyes) and the clear tissue that covers it (conjunctiva) and increase risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The intense reflection of the sun’s rays on ice and snow compounds this issue, causing symptoms such as blurry vision, tearing, headache, eyelid twitching, pain, redness, light sensitivity and light halos.
People who snowboard or ski are at an increased risk of snow blindness or damage from UV radiation due to high altitudes. It’s common not to notice signs of snow blindness until after your eyes are harmed. Snow blindness can also involve freezing temperatures combined with dry air, which occurred during the 2004 Iditarod when a racer took off his goggles to see ahead of him and experienced severe blurry vision in just a few minutes. The freezing weather and dry, cold wind damaged his corneas, forcing him to withdraw from the race and seek treatment.
You can protect yourself from snow blindness and other winter concerns for your eyes by wearing UV protective sunglasses and scheduling an eye exam to assess your ocular health.
Contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates in Boston today to schedule your appointment.