Can your eyes be affected by winter?


Can your eyes be affected by winter?


Fall is fading and winter is quickly approaching. Although it’s said to be the most wonderful time of the year, it can usually be harsh on you body. Your eyes might feel like they’ve been left out in the cold. Your eyes might feel dry, increase in blink rate, fluctuation in vision, irritated and itchy. If you are already a dry eye patient, your symptoms worsens during this time of the year. Some people also experience more dryness while using their contact lenses and might switch to glasses or daily disposable lenses for better comfort.

Just like you skin feel more dry during winters, air tends to be more dryer during this season aggravating all your dry eye symptoms. 

According to the American Optometry Association, “warm air from vents and homes, cold winds whipping at our faces, and environmental factors can aggravate dry eye.”  Beyond the weather changes, there is several other reasons dry eye symptoms might worsen during winter months. In fact, even taking decongestants, or cold medications, can aggravate dry eye symptoms or make dry eye symptoms more severe. These symptoms can be easily treated with proper care and guidance, 

Here’s simple steps that you can take to maintain healthy eyes in the cold, winter months: 

  • Don’t let heated air from vents directly reach your face. Dry air from the vents tend to evaporate the tears faster and increase the symptoms. 
  • Some of the Cold and flu medications are also know to increase dry eye symptoms. It is advised to do a thorough research on the cold, or flu, medications that you pick. Some impact your eyes more than others. 
  • Due to dry wind, contact lenses might loose their moisture faster and one might experience difficulty in wearing them outside for long hours.  It is advised to consider eyewear or glasses when you’re going to be outside for long periods of time.
  • Stay hydrated! Increase your water intake during this season as that will help not only your eyes but also your body overall.   
  • Use a humidifier in your home. Dry winter air cannot hold heat well, adding water vapor from the humidifier will help balance the humidity in the air, make the room warmer and also help in reducing the dry eye symptoms. 
  • Reflex action to dry eye might also be excessive tearing in some cases. In order to combat the dryness, irritation, a sand particle kind of sensation, your eyes might start tearing to protect your eyes from any damage. Excessive tearing might also be a symptom of dry eye or seasonal allergies. If tearing occurs mainly outdoors, it is most likely due to the environmental factors, but if it occurs indoors along with some cold and flu symptoms it might be due to seasonal allergies. 
  • Just like you’d pull on a coat before going outside, make it a habit to proactively care for your eyes this season and wear protective glasses or sunglasses to avoid direct impact of dry winds, sunburn or snow blindness caused due to prolong exposure to UV rays. 
  • Vision loss or blurriness might occur in extreme low temperatures. Though majority of the symptoms are around dry eye, seasonal allergies or  UV exposure sometimes, blood vessels in and around the eye might constrict causing blur or double vision. It is important to consult an eye doctor if these symptoms do not revert within 30mins. 
  • Using over the counter lubricating eye drops. Just like you need a moisturizer  to help your skin with dryness, similarly using over the counter lubricating drop might help with your dry eye symptoms. They helps restore the lost moisture. Some of these lubricating eye drops are also available as gel. They tend to lock moisture longer compared to just eye drops.    

Think your eyes are feeling the effects of winter? Take our complimentary dry eye quiz to see if your symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe.

Take our complimentary vision test to check the status of your vision and check if your vision has dropped. 

Book your appointment now if you would like to speak to one of our Dry eye doctors online.  

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Sources: Winter is coming: Help patients combat dry eye. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2020,