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How contact lenses can affect your eyes in winter

While we enjoy the colder months for their cosy and festive feel, we all know that plummeting temperatures, low humidity levels, and limited daylight hours can take their toll on our bodies. Our eyes are no exception to this, and contact lens wearers especially can find themselves facing multiple challenges during the winter season, often having to deal with discomfort, infections and eye strain.

If you wear contact lenses and tend to dread the thought of those inevitable dry and irritated eyes during the colder months, then it might be an idea to consider opting for a long-term vision correction solution such as laser eye surgery or lens replacement surgery. This can help to effectively relieve symptoms, in turn making the harsh winter season more comfortable on you and your eyes.

Haven’t opted for life-changing surgery yet and still struggling with your contact lenses in cold weather? Be sure to continue reading to learn more about how they affect your eyes in winter.

Harsher winds and drier air

The winter season sees a drastic change in weather, and the plummeting temperatures result in a crisp, dry air that has considerably lower humidity levels than that of summer. Just like your skin, your eyes struggle in such conditions, as it causes the tear film layer of your eye to dry out. Combine that with harsher winds, which can further strip them of essential moisture, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for itchy and blurry eyes.

While contact lenses are not necessarily the cause of such symptoms, they can cause greater irritation and aggravation to dry eyes. Since the tear film plays a crucial role in keeping your contact lenses moist, a drying of the tear film layer can result in high levels of eye discomfort. Contact lens wearers often find themselves being more ‘aware’ of their eyes in winter, as they struggle with the constant gritty feeling that is generally referred to as a foreign body sensation. What’s more, the lack of moisture can cause severe blurred vision, which can in turn result in eye fatigue and headaches. 

Indoor heating

When the cold wind is howling outside, you might try to find relief from those irritating dry eye symptoms by moving indoors. As we tend to be partial to cranking up the heating in the winter months, however, contact lens wearers might find themselves experiencing even more discomfort in the dry heat of our homes, offices and vehicles. Radiators, heating vents, fireplaces and space heaters all draw moisture out of the air, which can result in your eyes and contact lenses feeling even drier indoors than in the chilly outdoor air.

As the warm, re-circulated air dries out the surface of your contact lenses, wearers can feel a friction between the contact lens and their eyelids whenever they blink, leading to discomfort and irritation. This can in turn cause them to rub or itch their eyes, often without realising it, which poses a threat to eye health as it can damage the lens of your eye or the cornea and lead to infections such as conjunctivitis.

Increased screen time

Winter truly is the season of excessive screen time, as we move away from outdoor picnics and strolls through the park and start spending more time indoors. Staring at a screen for prolonged periods of time reduces your blink rate, which dries out your eyes and leaves them feeling tired, itchy and irritated. As contact lenses can cause discomfort in the best of times, symptoms can become more extreme when your eyes are already suffering from digital eye strain, often resulting in fatigue, blurry vision and headaches.

Choose a safer, more permanent solution

Does this all sound too familiar to you? If you find that your contact lenses trigger a range of eye-related issues in the cold, dry conditions of winter, then it might be time to consider opting for an alternative vision correction solution. Laser eye surgery and lens replacement surgery can eliminate the need for contact lenses, providing you with more comfortable vision and greatly reducing the risk of infections and other complications.

As 85% of adults are now suitable for a vision correction surgery procedure, there is a good chance that you will be too.* More than 99% of patients go on to achieve 20|20 vision or better following treatment, ̾ greatly improving their quality of life and giving them complete freedom from their glasses and contact lenses. Why put up with outdated vision correction solutions and put your eye health at risk? Take the first step towards visual freedom and book a free consultation at one of our 120+ clinics across the UK and Ireland. 

*Based on 57,346 consultations attended at Optical Express between 1st January 2017 and 31st December 2017, 85.2% of patients were found to be suitable for a refractive procedure.

̾In a study of 190,231 Optical Express patients with the most common prescriptions we treat (excluding those with presbyopia and emmetropia), 99.2% achieved 20/20 vision or better following treatment.

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