When the cold weather of winter arrives, it brings with it beautiful snowfall, fun outdoor activities like skiing, ice fishing, and hockey, and — in the views of more than a few of our patients — the best holidays of the year.

But cold weather also brings trouble, especially when it comes to your eyes .

At Midwest Vision Centers, we’ve found that during the winter, eye health problems run rampant. For a number of reasons, the colder months bring on various eye conditions with symptoms ranging from mildly uncomfortable to downright unbearable.

In response, we wanted to make sure you’re aware of the issues you should look out for, and provide you with a few tips and tricks for cold weather eye care. With these in mind, you’ll be able to experience the beauty of winter with healthy eyes!

Dangerous UV Rays

Shorter Days, Same Dangerous UV Rays

Many people believe that sunglasses are an accessory to be worn only during the warmer months, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! If you’re going outside in a sunny winter day, it’s important to remember your sunglasses.

Snow and ice reflects the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which can greatly damage your eyes even on cloudy, overcast days. Exposure to these UV rays can lead to eye redness and pain and can cause an inflammation of the cornea called keratitis.

Failing to protect your eyes during the winter can also lead to “snow blindness,” which can cause serious, vision loss.

You can protect your eyes in the winter by:

  • Wearing polarized sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Wearing UV protective goggles if you’re participating in winter activities like skiing
  • Wearing hats that will shade your face from sunlight and help reduce the UV rays your eyes are exposed to

Yes, there’s not as much risk in the winter of UV damage from direct sunlight as there is in the summer, but don’t mistake that for an excuse to disregard eye protection.

Shorter Days, Same Dangerous UV Rays

Many people believe that sunglasses are an accessory to be worn only during the warmer months, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! If you’re going outside in a sunny winter day, it’s important to remember your sunglasses.

Snow and ice reflects the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which can greatly damage your eyes even on cloudy, overcast days. Exposure to these UV rays can lead to eye redness and pain and can cause an inflammation of the cornea called keratitis.

Failing to protect your eyes during the winter can also lead to “snow blindness,” which can cause serious, vision loss.

Dangerous UV Rays

You can protect your eyes in the winter by:

  • Wearing polarized sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Wearing UV protective goggles if you’re participating in winter activities like skiing
  • Wearing hats that will shade your face from sunlight and help reduce the UV rays your eyes are exposed to

Yes, there’s not as much risk in the winter of UV damage from direct sunlight as there is in the summer, but don’t mistake that for an excuse to disregard eye protection.

Dry Air Equals Dry Eyes

When the weather turns cold, the air, both inside and out, gets drier. The bitter wind and constant cold is one thing, but you won’t be much safer indoors. Keeping yourself warm during the winter is important, turning on the heat reduces humidity and makes the air in your home, workplace, or car very dry.

Constantly subjecting yourself to dry air can cause a condition called dry eye. If you have dry eye, you may experience painful and annoying symptoms like burning, itching, or watery eyes.

You can help prevent dry eye in the winter by:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Using a dehumidifier to reduce the dryness of the air
  • Using eye drops
  • Remembering to blink often, especially when focusing on electronic screens
  • Wearing eye protection when outside to protect yourself from the cold wind
Dry Air Equals Dry Eyes
Season for Pink Eye

‘Tis the Season for Pink Eye

Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, occurs when the outer membrane of the eye becomes inflamed or infected. Just like the common cold, cases of pink eye are more prevalent during colder months.

If you have pink eye, you can experience redness, itching, and burning in your eyes. Pink eye is highly contagious, and it can easily be transferred between eyes, including your own!

Protect yourself from pink eye by:

  • Practicing good hygiene and washing your hands often
  • Not touching your eyes
  • Avoiding direct contact with those who have pink eye

‘Tis the Season for Pink Eye

Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, occurs when the outer membrane of the eye becomes inflamed or infected. Just like the common cold, cases of pink eye are more prevalent during colder months.

If you have pink eye, you can experience redness, itching, and burning in your eyes. Pink eye is highly contagious, and it can easily be transferred between eyes, including your own!

Protect yourself from pink eye by:

  • Practicing good hygiene and washing your hands often
  • Not touching your eyes
  • Avoiding direct contact with those who have pink eye
Season for Pink Eye

Eye Problems? It’s “Snow” Problem

If you’re experiencing dry eye, pink eye, pain caused by UV exposure, or other problems brought on by cold weather, Midwest Vision is here to help. Eye care isn’t seasonal – we’ll make sure you can experience healthy vision all year long!

If you have an eye problem or simply want to schedule an exam to ensure that your eyes are as healthy as they need to be, visit one of our locations across Minnesota and North Dakota!

Eye Problems? It’s “Snow” Problem