Winter Eye Conditions
Care of the eyes always varies from person to person. But when you live in Livingston, Cedar Knolls, Denville or Newark, New Jersey, the biting cold of the winter can wreak havoc on people’s eyes that even require minimal care. Marano Eye Care has put together what you can anticipate and subsequently prevent.
As a cold, blustery wind blows right into your face, many start tearing up more than when watching their favorite sad movie. This increase in tearing is your body’s natural response because the cold is causing the moisture in your eyes to evaporate. The function of tears is to keep your eyes free of dirt and microorganisms, so when the moisture in your eyes is depleted, the body turns on the waterworks. The more aggressive the evaporation, the more direct a response from your body’s defense systems. As the tearing becomes more severe, the resulting blurred vision can be a major nuisance.
While a cold wind might trigger your eyes to tear, you might often notice your eyes are drier during the winter than other seasons. This is because the air is regularly drier during the winter. It also happens to the air in your house, due to increased water evaporation caused by your heating system. As you get older, the body typically slowly reduces tear production. Some medications can cause similar effects. If you are experiencing chronic dry eye, contact us so we can diagnose and treat the condition.
People typically worry about the sun more during the summer, but UV rays can be harsher during the winter! Furthermore, after New Jersey has been graced by a beautiful layer of snow, the amount of light your corneas are exposed to is increased because the light is bouncing more off the ground. It doesn’t matter if the sky is perpetually overcast, since UV rays can pass through clouds. The burning sensation, called keratitis, is very unpleasant, and will leave you with unappealing redness.
Freezing of the Corneas
Our eyeballs’ windshields just can’t get a break during the winter. Limited exposure to extreme cold is unlikely to put your eyes at risk, but any outdoor adventurers and runners should be aware that corneal frostbite is a real thing! While a rare occurrence, those who end up experiencing corneal frostbite only need to learn their lesson once. Symptoms experienced include blindness, burning sensation, eyelid spasms, and in the worst cases, tissue loss. On a related note, contact lenses can freeze to your eyes as well, but those will actually provide mild protection for the cornea.
Heavy Bagging Under the Eyes
While technically a symptom around the eyes, who wants to deal with looking tired all winter? Bagging under the eyes is typically caused by the capillaries in the area leaking small amounts of blood under the skin. During the winter, we tend to have less melanin – we get paler – which makes the skin more transparent, dramatizing the appearance. The lack of sun exposure also reduces levels of vitamin D in our bodies, which increases fatigue.
How to Keep Your Eyes Happy in the Winter
So what can you do? The top priority for each person should be to invest in a pair of sunglasses. They will reduce eye strain, protect against UV-light, and reduce exposure to cold wind. For those who plan on being out in the more extreme cold or participate in sports such as downhill skiing, you’ll need to upgrade to a pair of good goggles, which provide significantly more protection from inclement temperatures. If you find the air in your house is too dry, consider investing in a humidifier. And for those unsightly, bruised-looking eye bags, consider a vitamin D supplement, maintaining some level of sun exposure and getting more rest.
Marano Eye Care treasures seeing the beauty in the world, so we’re focused on you being able to do the same. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please give your nearest Marano Eye Care location a call so we can set an appointment. Our doctors perform thousands of surgeries every year and make it a priority that each visit is a superior experience. The practice been listed on the NJ Top Doctors list for over a decade as a result.