Caring for Your Eyes in Cold Weather

When the temperature drops, it’s essential to adjust your eye care routine. Dry heat, UV light, and outdoor activities can increase certain risks. As a result, you need to make sure you care for your eyes correctly.  

Luckily, it’s easy to adjust your routine to account for cold weather. If you want to make sure your eyes stay safe and healthy, here’s what you need to know.  

Dealing with Dry Heat  

When you turn on your home or workplace’s heaters during the winter, the air gets drier. Not only can the reduced humidity lead to dry skin, but it can also dry out your eyes, making them itchy and uncomfortable.  

One of the simplest ways to counteract the dryness is with a humidifier. This adds moisture back into the air, which can make your eyes feel more comfortable. Eye drops are also beneficial for quick infusions of moisture.  

If you wear contact lenses, make sure you select eye drops made for contact lens wearers. If you’re still struggling with dry eyes after that, consider making an appointment with your eye doctor. They may switch you to a different brand that uses a material that better combats dryness.  

Blocking Reflective UV Light  

Many people overlook the power of the sun during the winter, mainly because the temperature is lower. However, harmful UV rays do still exist, and they can bounce off of material like snow. In fact, UV light is more dangerous in snowy conditions because of snow’s reflective qualities.  

Usually, your best defense against UV light is a pair of sunglasses with lenses designed to block UVA and UVB rays. That limits the amount of UV light that actually reaches your eye, making it less likely that your eyes will be harmed.  

Contact lens wearers can also choose a brand with UV blocking abilities. This gives you an additional layer of protection against UV rays that aren’t blocked by sunglasses.  

Protecting Eyes During Activities  

Winter activities like skiing, ice skating, and snowball fights can be great options for getting exercise during the winter. However, while participating, your eyes could be at risk.  

Falls in the snow, snowballs hitting your face, and ice particles created by skating could harm your eyes. If you want to make sure that debris can’t damage your eyes, eye protection is a must. Choose options that won’t fog and that are designed for the activity, ensuring they won’t fall off while you’re having fun.  

Ultimately, just a few small changes to your eye care routine can make a big difference. It ensures your eyes stay safe, allowing you to avoid damage caused by dryness, UV light, or debris.  

Are You Overdue for an Eye Exam? 

At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for patients’ eyes and will help you choose approaches that can keep your eyes healthy all year-long. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

Types of Low Vision

There are numerous types of vision acuity changes, each with its own signs and symptoms. Some are simply differences in severity, while others cause losses in different areas. If you are wondering about the types of low vision, here’s a look at the most common kinds.  

Central Vision Loss  

With central vision loss, a person usually has a blurry section or blind spot in the middle of their visual field. However, the vision issue doesn’t extend to their peripheral (side) vision.  

Often, a person with central vision loss has difficulties reading. They may struggle with recognizing faces, as well as identifying details at a distance.  

In most cases, central vision loss has a limited impact (if any) on mobility. The remaining peripheral vision gives the person enough to generally move about safely.  

Peripheral Vision Loss  

Essentially a counter to central vision loss, with peripheral vision loss, the blurriness or blind spots can be on one or both sides, above, below, or all around the central portion of the visual area. Usually, the person can see directly ahead, creating a form of tunnel vision.  

Reading, identifying people’s faces, and even seeing at a distance may be manageable with peripheral vision loss. However, mobility may be impacted if the peripheral vision loss is severe. Additionally, in serious cases, reading speed may be slowed, as only a couple of words may be visible at a given time.  

Blurred Vision  

With blurred vision, a person’s entire visual field is affected. Everything may appear to be out of focus, regardless of whether an object is close or far away. The issue also remains even with corrective lenses.  

However, the field of view isn’t necessarily cloudy. Colors can remain clean and crisp, even as the objects seem to be out of focus. For example, a healthy grass lawn may appear vibrantly green, but the blades of grass can’t be separately identified.  

Generalized Hazy Vision  

At times referred to as cloudy vision, generalized hazy vision also impacts the entire visual field. It’s not unlike trying to see through glare or a film, or as if a fog has come to rest permanently in front of the person’s eyes.  

Light Sensitivity  

In extreme cases, light sensitivity significantly alters a person’s vision. It occurs when normal lighting conditions seemingly overwhelm the person’s eyes, causing images to appear washed out. At times, light sensitivity can be accompanied by physical discomfort or pain even when the area’s lighting is considered a normal level.  

Night Blindness  

With night blindness, a person can’t see in dimly lit spaces, such as movie theatres or outside at night. Starlight and moonlight are usually insufficient. Even vehicle headlights may not provide enough illumination for them to drive safely.  

Ultimately, if you are struggling with low vision, scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor is essential. The ECVA team will work diligently to determine the cause of your low vision, ensuring proper steps can be taken to ensure your eyes’ health and preserve or restore your vision when possible. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

What Is This Bump on My Eye!

Finding a bump near your eye is always startling. You may be wondering if it is dangerous or what you should do to handle it.  

How you should proceed depends on the kind of bump you find. If the lump is small and red – with or without a white head – and located on your eyelid, there’s a good chance it’s a stye. Here’s what you need to know about styes, including what they are, what causes them, and how you can prevent or treat them.  

What Is a Stye?  

Styes are usually small bumps that form on the inside or outside of your eyelid. They are typically a bit red and may present with a white head in some cases. At times, a stye may be sore, usually a side effect of inflammatory processes. However, it also may feel fine.  

Generally, styes appear on only one eyelid at any given time. However, it is possible to have multiple styes at once, including some on each eyelid.  

What Causes Styes?  

Styes aren’t unlike pimples. They occur when glands located on your eyelids get clogged and inflamed. When the gland clogs, it swells and can fill with fluid (pus). This causes it to get larger as time passes, at least until it opens up and drains.  

How to Prevent Styes  

Good hygiene practices can help you prevent styes. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water before you touch your eye area. Additionally, clean your face with a mild cleanser regularly.  

If you wear makeup, remove it every night. You should also replace your eye makeup every six months, or after you have had a stye. Also, avoid sharing towels with anyone who has a stye, as the bacteria can transfer over to you, increasing your odds of getting one.  

How to Treat Styes  

In most cases, a stye will go away on its own within a few days. However, you can try to speed the process along a bit. First, don’t squeeze or “pop” a stye. That can lead to more inflammation and swelling, and potentially push an infection deeper into your eyelid.  

Instead, wash your hands with soap and water, and then soak a clean washcloth in warm (not hot) water. Place that over the stye to help encourage the gland to open. You can also gently massage the stye with clean fingers to try and open it up. Make sure to clean your face and eye area regularly. If you need a gentle cleanser, try baby shampoo.  

If you’re experiencing any discomfort, consider ibuprofen. It reduces inflammation and can reduce pain. Additionally, if you usually wear contact lenses, switch over to glasses until your stye heals. Also, make sure to thoroughly clean your contacts before you use them again, or switch to a new pair once you’ve recovered.  

Your Eye Health is our Priority 

Should you become concerned about a stye or aren’t sure that the bump is one, it’s best to see an eye doctor. They can identify the lump and recommend a course of treatment, if necessary.  

Our experienced team works diligently to keep our patients’ eyes healthy, including identifying causes of bumps that may occur. If you would like to make sure your eyes are healthy, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.