As you gaze outside your window this winter, don’t lose sight of what brings every wonderland to light—your eyes. By taking precautions this season, you can preserve your vision and guarantee that you will enjoy the sights of the holiday seasons to come. To do so, you need to understand how winter weather creates hazards for the eyes.
“Winter enthusiasts look forward to this time of year,” explains Carlo J. DiMarco, DO, an osteopathic ophthalmologist practicing in Erie, Pa. “They spend their days happily racing down the slopes, but they do not realize the amount of time they are exposed to intense reflected sunlight.”
Overexposure to the winter sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays without proper eye protection can temporarily harm the eyes or even cause photokeratitis. This condition is like sunburning sensitive tissues of the eyeball. Although photokeratitis may heal with time, the best way to safeguard vision is to avoid excessive UV ray exposure.
“It’s not just the skiers that need to worry about photokeratitis,” warns Dr. DiMarco, a member of the American Osteopathic Association Board of Trustees. “Appropriate eye protection should be worn when shoveling snow; putting up or taking down holiday decorations; or just going for a walk.”
Dr. DiMarco further explains that while many people associate winter with gray skies, the sun often comes out unexpectedly. Since sunglasses are left behind, many people are subjected to exposure without the proper protection.
“UV light has been proven to cause certain types of cataracts and has been implicated in age-related macular degeneration,” he explains. “These are two of the most common eye health problems experienced in older adults.”
In terms of protection, Dr. DiMarco recommends lenses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. VISIT DR. LANDRIO’S OFFICE FOR A FULL SELECTION OF UV PROTECTION AND POLARIZED SUNGLASSES FOR YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY – 2126 MERRICK MALL (NEXT TO OUTBACK RESTAURANT)