Do Cold Temperatures Affect Your Eyes?

iStock_000024731322Large.jpgThis winter has been particularly brutal in many regions of the country, turning many people into shut-ins to avoid the bitter cold. For those that choose to brave the elements for the sake of escaping cabin fever, you may wonder how extreme cold impacts your eye health.

Vision Issues

Very cold temperatures will constrict the blood vessels in your eyes or freeze your cornea, both painful and compromising to visual clarity. Double vision, blurred vision, and/or loss of vision are likely. Treatment may be as simple as allowing the eye to return to warmer temperatures, but sometimes medication is necessary to add moisture back into the eye’s environment.

Pain & Inflammation

In addition to the pain caused by corneal freeze, general pain related to the cold or wind is common. Cold weather and breezy conditions cause dry eye, a very uncomfortable condition. Another frequent problem for winter eye health occurs when you might attempt to open your unprotected eyes during sports like skiing, snowmobiling, or snowboarding. Your eyes may become red and swollen, feel gritty and painful, and could even suffer permanent damage. Always wear protective goggles or glasses when going outside in low temperatures or winter wind, especially if you’ll be participating in outdoor sports.


Winter does not negate the need for UV protection, and this goes for your eye health too. Don’t be misled by cold temperatures and overcast days. UV can actually be more prevalent in the winter due to the reflection of the sun’s rays off of snow and ice. Always wear UV-blocking sunglasses or goggles during the day to prevent a painful case of Photokeratitis—sunburn on your eye.

Escape the indoors as much as possible this winter, but consider your eye health. Ask your trusted eye care provider – Optical Solutions for more information on cold weather eye safety.

Published by knanosky

Our first piece of advice when we bought our Airstream was from friends and fellow campers. They said to make sure you "keep the shiny side up." Something that struck me kind of funny, but so true :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: