December 21 is the first day of winter and the start of a season when frosty-weather fans can relish their time on powdered slopes, stunning white vistas and the wonder of the holiday season. To make sure you’re able to enjoy it in all its glory, we’re arming you with information to help you stay safe and healthy indoors and out.

By December, the less humid air of the fall has already set us up for dry eyes, but the massive mercury drop and bitter winds that follow can also be hard on eyes in a number of ways.

For starters, subzero temperatures can have a direct effect on the eyeball: The extreme cold constricts blood vessels, which can cause vision changes. You may notice double vision and blurriness after a short time in freezing conditions.

We’re also at risk for snow blindness. This happens when frozen surfaces and snow reflect bright light directly into your eyes. It can be uncomfortable for those with light sensitivity or those who aren’t properly protecting their eyes from the light. Prolonged exposure can produce temporary or even permanent vision changes, pain, swelling, redness and tearing.

To keep these winter hazards from drying or damaging your eye, follow these tips:

  1. Keep outdoor sessions short, particularly during extreme cold snaps.
  2. Reduce your eyes’ exposure to airflows. That means cutting back the use of hairdryers, fans and heaters to keep the breeze to a minimum.
  3. Protect your eyes with sunglasses. This serves the dual purpose of reducing air exposure and protecting eyes from snow blindness. Wrap-around glasses work best for these purposes.
  4. Stay hydrated inside and out. That means drinking plenty of water, using moisturizing eyedrops as needed, and soothing dry eyes with a warm, wet washcloth. You can also boost your body’s ability to lubricate your eyes by eating a diet rich in healthy fats, vegetables and lean proteins.

If eye irritation and dryness become painful or linger too long, seek treatment! There are lots of effective dry eye treatment options in particular that can provide dramatic relief, and consequently, better vision. Ask Matossian Eye Associates about the latest treatments for long-term relief from dry eye, so you can stay comfortable all winter and beyond.

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Matossian Eye Associates at your convenience by calling us at (800) 708-8800 or through our online scheduling portal at