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Eye and Vision Care

Eyes Sensitive to Cold Air

01/25/2011

Question:

65 year-old male dreads winter. go outside in cold air and in a matter of seconds my eyes are watering so bad I can`t see and nose begins to pour very thin, watery fluid. Moving to Florida is not an option.

Answer:

Excessive watering of the eyes may actually be an indication of dry eye disease. When the eyes are dry, the tear production system can actually work overtime to try to compensate for the lack of good quality tears by making an excessive amount of tears.

If your tear film is actually thinner than normal due to quick evaporation of tears or due to not making enough tears, this could cause your cornea (the front surface of the eyes) to be sensitive to even minor changes in temperature.

I recommend asking your eye doctor to evaluate you for dry eye syndrome. There are a number of management options available to help combat the symptoms of dry eye disease. Thank you and best of luck!

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Response by:

Julia Rae Geldis, OD, MS Julia Rae Geldis, OD, MS
Clinical Associate Professor of Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University