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Why Taking Care of Your Eyes During Winter is Important By Daniel J Tepper on January 15, 2021

Woman wiping her eye while outsideWinter can be a tough time on our bodies, so we bundle up to protect against the biting cold. But what about our eyes? More often than not, they remain exposed to the cold weather.

Taking care of your eyes during winter is extremely important. At Wicker Park Eye Center, our expert ophthalmologists are committed to providing the care you need. We proudly serve the Chicago, IL, area, offering eye care for our tough winters. Dr. Daniel Tepper and Dr. Parisha Shah discuss how cold weather affects your eyes, and how to ensure good eye health during cold months.

Dry Eye

With cold weather comes low humidity and lower temperatures. This can lead to dry eyes. Without moisture protecting your corneas and washing away foreign objects, your eyes are exposed to possible contaminants. This can lead to infection. Your eyes may become irritated and scratchy.

Use liquid tears when needed to moisturize your eyes and keep them from drying out. It’s also a good idea to have a humidifier in your bedroom and other spaces in your home to add moisture to the air.

Excessive Tearing

On the other hand, sometimes the cold weather causes us to overcompensate by tearing up excessively. The root cause of this is actually similar to dry eyes in that your cornea is not getting enough water to properly protect and lubricate the eyeball. For some people, this causes them to tear up more. The constant production of tears can lead to redness and puffiness.

If you are inclined towards outdoor activities in the snow such as jogging, biking, skiing, or snowboarding, we highly recommend wearing protective goggles. Our Chicago practice encourages these activities for a healthy lifestyle, and we know there is a large cycling community in our city, so make sure to keep those eyes safe and healthy.

Snow Blindness

You may have noticed this after a fresh blanket of snow: everything is blindingly bright, and your eyes hurt after a while. This is due to the high refractive index of snow and ice. Since we practice in Chicago, we all know this is a yearly occurrence.

Sunlight bounces off snow, creating a glaring brightness which can lead to eye strain and even sunburn on your eyes. Because of this, we highly recommend wearing sunglasses or UV blocking goggles when outdoors in the snow. This will keep your eyes protected from harmful UV rays.

Signs and Symptoms of Snow Blindness

Watch out for the following symptoms of snow blindness, and give your eyes a rest if any of them occur:

  • Pain or burning sensations
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Headache
  • Swollen or red eyelids
  • Indoor lights seem to glare
  • Feeling as if something is caught in your eye

The most important takeaway is to really listen to your body. If you have been outside on a snow-covered day and you notice any of the above symptoms, now you know what to look for.

Visit an Ophthalmologist Today

One of the best ways you can take care of your eyes is by visiting an ophthalmologist. Join us at our practice in Chicago for a consultation. Maximize your eye health by taking proactive steps. Give us a call at (773) 376-2020 or send us a message online to schedule an appointment today.

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Wicker Park Eye Center

At Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, Dr. Daniel J. Tepper, a board-certified ophthalmologist and Parisha Shah, fellowship-trained optometrists, provide patient-centric eye care. Our affiliations include:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Optometric Association (AOA)

To schedule an appointment at our eye clinic, please contact us online or call (773) 376-2020.

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"I have visited Wicker Eye Park Center a few times, with each visit I have received excellent service. Dr. Tepper is the best ophthalmologist that I have seen in many years. He, like his staff, is also courteous respectful and very professional." Juan B.

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