If you’re feeling misty-eyed this season — but not from holiday emotions — you’re not alone. While eye issues can occur any time of year, winter weather may elevate your risk for problems like dryness and irritation. Fortunately, most seasonal sources of eye irritation are easy to address. Here’s a closer look into common eye issues that occur this time of year.


Whipping winds and dry outdoor air can take a toll on your eyes. And even when you’re cozied up indoors, cranking up the heat or sitting by the fireside can dry them out further. If your eyes are scratchy, burning, or stinging, or it feels like there’s something in them, you have some of the telltale signs of dry eyes

Replenish moisture with artificial tear drops, which can be purchased over the counter and used as needed. However, before using or buying any eye drops, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider or eye doctor to ensure you’re procuring the safest and most effective drops. If your eye dryness persists, make an appointment with your eye doctor. There could be an underlying factor related to the tear film of your eye, which could require further treatment.

Snow Blindness

You already know to protect your skin and your eyes against harmful UV rays in the sunny summer months. But here’s an important reminder: up to 80% of sunlight can penetrate cloud cover, and snow reflects its beams for double harmful exposure. So, if you’re hitting the slopes this season, protective eyewear is a must. Snow blindness — a form of photokeratitis, or sunburn of the eyes — is just as it sounds: temporary loss of vision. Other symptoms include pain, redness, a feeling of grittiness, vision changes, and tearing. Fortunately, UV-blocking sunglasses and goggles prevent this issue.

Eye Injuries

Winter sports, hanging and taking down decorations, and even holiday cooking can all cause eye injuries. In fact, household products cause up to 125,000 eye injuries each year, even though the overwhelming majority of these can be prevented. Avoid mixing chemicals if you’re cleaning before company arrives, and wear safety goggles during any tasks that could cause damaging projectiles.

Eye Strain

If you spend more time indoors when the weather cools, chances are that means more time on your devices, too. From Skyping with loved ones over the holidays to logging extra hours for end-of-year work deadlines, there are plenty of reasons to be behind screens this time of year. While you don’t have to avoid them altogether, keep in mind that prolonged screen time is associated with eye strain. Symptoms include sore or burning eyes, blurred or double vision, headache, and watery or dry eyes.

One simple way to prevent eye strain is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This gives your eyes an opportunity to rest. Blue light protective eyewear, which blocks out the rays that can disrupt your circadian rhythms and interfere with sleep patterns, may also be worth considering. 

Schedule Your Eye Appointment Today

Part of keeping your eyes healthy through the winter and beyond is going for a comprehensive eye exam each year. Our eye doctors will ensure you’re seeing as clearly as possible and assess your overall eye health during your annual visit. Request an appointment online or by calling 404-351-2220.