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Preparing Your Eyes For Winter

The winter months are the best time of year for your eyes, correct? When the sun’s rays are less powerful it isn’t likely that people will experience a lot of vision problems. Who needs eye protection in the winter? UV rays, sun glare, all of that is gone. Right? Hey, the overcast skies and loads of snow mean it’s time to forget all about eye safety and relax.

Not so fast. The winter months do have some changes that reduce eye damage in some ways. The flip side is that there’s increased risk from other things. Let’s take a look at how you can prepare your eyes for winter and keep them healthy. There’s no reason to suffer from damage to the eyes with some simple strategies to avoid any lasting damage or vision loss during the winter months.

Sun Damage

It is true that in some areas the rays from the sun are less powerful in the winter. This only means that it isn’t quite as hot. UV rays can still harm your eyes. Not everyone is aware that UV rays can be even more damaging in the winter due to the reflection of sun rays off of snow and ice. Don’t put away summer sunglasses – keep them out all year to avoid a case of sunburn on the eye (photokeratitis). The best sunglasses will block out all UVA and UVB rays. Both rays can cause damage to the eyes all year long.

Cold Damage

We don’t usually think of our eyes suffering damage from the cold. Did you know that in very cold temperatures your eyes can freeze? Keeping your eyes protected from extreme cold can avoid this, but if you simply can’t avoid being outdoors in severe cold, keep your eyes protected from wind, cold water, and invest in goggles. The act of wearing goggles can seal in enough warmth to avoid freezing of the cornea which can result in vision loss.

Even if the eye doesn’t freeze, cold can cause blurring and cloudy vision when blood vessels constrict.

Pain and More

Pain and inflammation are likely to be encountered when you’ve suffered from a corneal freeze, constriction of the blood vessels in the eye. A sign of inflammation is hen the eyes eel gritty, are swollen, red, or are painful. It is important to wear goggles or glasses to protect the eyes from wind and cold. Pain and inflammation are the least severe of the problems caused by cold, but are the first warning symptom of a more serious problem.

Treatments

Sometimes the treatment is as easy as getting to a warm place. If you can’t get inside, then sit in a vehicle with the heat on, build a fire, or just cover the eyes with your hands. Warm breath inside o a scarf that covers the entire face can help. Sunburn or freezing needs the treatment from an eyecare professional and is easier to avoid that to treat. Goggles and sunglasses are the best way to avoid damage from the sun during the winter.