“How Does Cold Weather Affect My Eyes?” By Dr. J. A. Parker

J.A. Parker
J.A. Parker

As much as the temperatures have fluctuated recently in the low country, many of you may be wondering why your eyes have been “feeling” and “seeing” a little differently.

The atmosphere around us (whether hot or cold) can cause dry eye symptoms. These symptoms include a dry, scratchy, gritty feeling in the eyes, blurred vision, and often times teary eyes. When the temperature changes, it causes an imbalance in the tear film which leads to the symptoms described. It sounds rhetorical that the eyes can tear, or run water, when they are dry, but it’s true.

Your tears are made up of 3 layers—the oil, water, and mucous layers. Changes in the temperature around us can result in an imbalance in these components of the tear film. The most common form of dry eyes results from a reduction in the oily tear layer. When this occurs, the eyes will have dry eye symptoms.

Dry eyes are common in both men and women. It is also more common to have dry eyes if you sit at a computer for long periods of time, if you do a lot of reading, or if you are a contact lens wearer. Poor or inadequate blinking also results in dry eyes.

The treatment for dry eyes can range from changing your diet, using eye drops, plugging the tear ducts, and now even using amniotic tissue to help re-heal sick tissue on the front of the eyes. Oral medications, including vitamins, may also be required to help reduce inflammation that causes the symptoms of dry eyes. In many cases, the medications you take may also be a culprit for dry eye syndrome. So be sure to inform your eye care provider about any medications you take.

The recent blurry vision changes you have noticed may not be because your glasses need to be changed. It could actually be the effects of Dry Eye Syndrome. Early treatment and intervention is the key to keeping the eyes from experiencing any of these symptoms. See you eye care provider ASAP.

If you do not have an eye care provider, I invite you to visit EnVision Eye Care, 321 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah (near Hunter Golf Course and VA Medical Clinic). For appointments, call (912) 927-0707 and visit us at www.envisionsavannah.com

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