Here Are Some Eye Complications During Winter and Tips to Prevent it

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As winter sets in and temperatures drop, it's essential to be mindful of the potential impact on your eyes. Cold weather can contribute to various eye complications, from dryness to more severe disorders. Here are some common eye issues during winter and preventive measures to safeguard your vision.

Dry Eyes

According to a study authored by the American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO), seasonality plays a role in dry eyes. Cold, dry air can lead to increased evaporation of tears, causing dry eyes. 

  • Symptoms: Irritation, redness, and a gritty sensation. 
  • Treatment and Prevention: You can combat dry eyes by using artificial tears, staying hydrated, and using a humidifier indoors to maintain moisture levels.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Winter is notorious for the spread of viruses and bacteria, and one such consequence of this is conjunctivitis or pink eye. The AAO expert shared that pink eye during winter may signify a less common condition called Atopic keratoconjunctivitis. Although it occurs throughout the year, it is usually worse during winter. 

  • Symptoms: Bilateral itching, watery discharge, redness, light sensitivity, crusty lids upon waking, and pain.
  • Treatment and Prevention: Practice good hand hygiene, avoid touching your face, and avoid sharing personal items to reduce the risk of infection.

Increased Sensitivity to Light

Winter's bright sunlight combined with the reflection of fog can lead to increased sensitivity to light, a condition known as photophobia, according to a study led by the University of Utah

  • Treatment & Prevention: Wear sunglasses with polarised lenses to reduce glare and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Winter Dryness and Allergies

Indoor heating systems can contribute to a dry environment, exacerbating eye dryness and irritation. Keep your living space adequately humidified, take breaks to blink consciously, and consider using lubricating eye drops to alleviate discomfort.

Preventive Measures

One good news about seasonal eye complications is that they are not that hard to prevent. Here are some tips:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to maintain overall hydration, which helps prevent dry eyes. Limit the intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Protective Eyewear: Invest in quality sunglasses that provide UV protection. Consider wearing goggles or wraparound glasses in extreme cold or windy conditions to shield your eyes from harsh elements.
  • Maintain Indoor Humidity: Use a humidifier to add moisture to indoor air. This helps prevent the air from becoming too dry, reducing the risk of dry eyes and irritation.
  • Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of infections. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, and steer clear of sharing personal items to minimise the risk of eye-related illnesses.
  • Regular Eye Check-ups: Schedule routine eye examinations with your optometrist. Regular check-ups can detect potential issues early on, allowing for timely intervention and prevention of more severe complications.

By understanding the potential eye complications associated with cold weather and taking proactive measures, you can enjoy winter activities while safeguarding your vision. Prioritise eye health this season by adopting these preventive measures and seeking professional advice if you experience any persistent symptoms.

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