Watery Eyes in Cold Weather
We all have experienced watery eyes when exposed to cold weather, but why exactly does this happen? Is it just due to the chill, or are there biological reasons at work? Cold weather can be a major cause of tearing and irritation to the eyes, but the underlying mechanism behind this phenomenon remains largely unknown.
In this article, we will explore why you get watery eyes in cold weather, looking at both environmental and anatomical factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Understanding these causes can help us develop practical ways to reduce eye discomfort during the winter months.
Why Do I Get Watery Eyes in Cold Weather?
When we step outside into the chillier winter weather, our eyes frequently start to water. They have a thinner layer of tears to cushion the delicate surface cells from evaporation brought on by cold air.
The lacrimal gland, which secretes an aqueous tear film on the eye, may be instructed to produce more tears as a result of this condition. We may experience eye flooding and cheek spilling as a result.
Here are a few reasons why you might have watery eyes.
1. Harsh weather conditions
It’s likely that you’re accustomed to using more moisturiser on your skin during the winter to prevent drying, but it’s simple to overlook the possibility that the same conditions can also cause your eyes to become dry. Because tears evaporate more quickly in colder, windier, and generally harsher weather, your tear ducts work extra hard to protect your eyes.
2. Central heating
Dryer air will result from central heating in both your home and place of business. Extra tears will then be produced once more to prevent the eyes from getting too dry.
3. Watching Television
Additionally, when concentrating on small, stationary objects, like a television or laptop, we tend to blink less. Since blinking spreads moisture across the surface of the eye, this may result in dry eyes.
We tend to spend more time indoors during the winters; when these allergens are more prevalent, they may cause an allergy to dust mites or mould, which can cause sneezing, itchy eyes, and coughing.
Additional Treatment for Watery Eyes
Watery eyes, or epiphora, is a common condition that can affect anyone regardless of age or gender, especially during winter. It is characterised by eyes that water more than usual and may be accompanied by redness, burning, and itching. The good news is that there are a variety of treatment options available for those experiencing watery eyes.
- Treatment for watery eyes may include the use of artificial tears to help lubricate dry eyes.
- However, if the underlying cause of the condition is allergies, a doctor might prescribe an antihistamine eye drop.
- In some cases, drinking more fluids can help, as dehydration can lead to dryness in the eyes. If allergies are not causing the problem, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroid drops to reduce inflammation and irritation around the eye area.
- Whenever you’re outside, put on your sunglasses or ski goggles. When outdoors, make sure to keep your eyes moist, especially if you’re snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, or doing anything else where the air passes over your eyes quickly;
Who Is Most Affected By Watery Eyes?
Although this issue can affect anyone, older individuals are more frequently affected. Watery eyes can result from either an excess of tears being produced or a problem with the tears draining properly, as I pointed out at the start of this post. Sadly, both of these issues can affect older people.
Tears cannot reach the draining ducts as we age because the eyelid tissues start to relax and do not always lie close to the eye. Therefore, in addition to older people’s eyes possibly watering more in cold weather, their eyes may also not be able to drain all of these additional tears properly, making the problem even worse.
People are also more prone to getting watery eyes when exercising outside or in an environment where they are exposed to more minute elements.
Tips for Preventing Watery Eyes in Cold Weather
People frequently experience dry eyes in the winter, but they can typically treat themselves and take care of themselves. But occasionally, treating dry eyes might involve medical treatment. Winter dry eyes can be avoided by making some lifestyle adjustments and using additional techniques. A few of these are discussed below.
1. Blinking frequently
Blink frequently to ensure tears are adequately lubricating your eyes.
2. Avoiding hairdryers
Using a hairdryer can make it more likely for someone’s eyes to become dry.
3. Less frequently using indoor heating
Artificial heating dries your tear ducts faster, making usage of heaters restricted to avoid such conditions.
4. Wearing eye protectors
Wearing eye protection can help protect the eyes from the wind and other elements of winter weather.
5. Limiting screen time
People who stare at screens for extended periods of time tend to blink less resulting in watery eyes.
6. Staying hydrated
Drinking lots of water helps people stay hydrated, which helps prevent dry eyes from excessive watering.
Is It Normal to Have Watery Eyes in Cold Weather?
Watery eyes may actually be a positive indicator. While excessive amounts of water can be annoying, your eyes are protected by the lubrication provided by your tears. The three layers of the natural tear film in your eyes work together to shield your cornea and preserve the best possible eye comfort. The lacrimal gland, a crucial structure that sits just above each eye and serves as a water reservoir for the eye’s surface, aids in this maintenance.
When our eyes start to water, our lacrimal glands are responding to the brain’s signal that we need more tears because the moisture produced by our glands is constantly evaporating. When exposed to cooler temperatures, most people will occasionally experience watery eyes. Typically, cold air is also dry, and our eyes have trouble seeing because of this lack of moisture.
Are Watery Eyes in Cold Weather a Sign of a Serious Problem?
If your eye pain lasts for a long time and you also have any of the following symptoms, you may have dry eye disease which might have serious implications if not treated at the earliest.
- Light sensitivity
- Drained eyes
Dry eyes, unfortunately, cause more than just a bothersome sensation. This variance in your tear film has the potential to cause corneal damage, eye inflammation, infection, and other health problems if left untreated.
Can Watery Eyes in Cold Weather Cause Damage to My Eyes?
Winters can be beautiful, but they also pose a threat to our eyes’ health due to the lowering of temperatures, abrasive winds, and dry air. Travelling to higher elevations, bright sunlight, and reflective snow all present particular difficulties. For many, cold weather can bring about watery eyes due to the dry air and wind. But is this condition causing any kind of harm to your eyesight? According to eye care professionals, watery eyes in cold weather are common but do not cause any damage.
Watery eyes happen when the small glands located inside and outside of our eyelids become overly active in response to a drop in temperature. They produce an excess amount of tears which causes the feeling of wateriness. While uncomfortable, this is a natural defense mechanism designed by nature to help protect our eyes from extreme elements. This condition should go away on its own when temperatures begin to rise again or you enter a warmer environment indoors.
When to See a Doctor about Watery Eyes in Cold Weather
The majority of the time, cold weather eye conditions is easily avoidable, and they are also easily treated at home with natural remedies. Ensure that you see an eye doctor as soon as you can if your eye issues continue. Having dry eyes over time can impair your vision. If dietary adjustments and over-the-counter medications are insufficient, inform your eye doctor. In particular, Sjogren’s syndrome may be something else they want to look into.
If you need assistance managing any additional medical conditions, let your medical team know. Dry eyes can worsen some conditions, including uncontrolled diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor can collaborate with you to keep your eyes healthy, no matter what is causing your symptoms.
The Bottom Line
It is clear that watery eyes in cold weather are a normal and natural response to the conditions of the environment. By understanding how and why this phenomenon occurs, we can be better prepared for it when it happens. Those who suffer from allergies or have dry eyes could benefit from taking extra precautions during cold weather as these conditions can be exacerbated in colder temperatures. It may also be helpful to use eye drops or wear glasses to help protect your eyes from the elements. Furthermore, staying hydrated, eating well, and managing stress can all contribute to overall eye health. Cold weather no longer has to mean dealing with watery eyes.
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