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Frozen eyes(11 posts)

Frozen eyeskyvdh
Jan 1, 2002 7:03 PM
For those of you that ride in the 30 and below weather, do you have to do anything special to protect your eyes? I rode today about 20 miles, temps in the mid to upper 20's and the last 3 miles my left eye got really cold and my vision in that eye got kind of blurry. I was wearing perscription sunglasses like I always wear but was wondering if sport glasses might protect my eyes from the wind better. Anyone else experience this or have suggestions?
re: Frozen eyesashleyrenfroe
Jan 2, 2002 4:45 AM
Let me recommend safety glasses from Lowe's or Home Depot. I bought some 5 dollar a pair cheapies, with no tint, but they wrap around. And they are shatter resistant. Helped me out the other day when it was like 39 and I was freezing.
re: Frozen eyesJohn-d
Jan 2, 2002 5:37 AM
Safety glasses that wrap around are a good idea but prescription lenses are required. I find that if I wear contact lenses with them I get the best of all worlds. Also the contact lens helps protect the eye from draughts, therefore they water less

Careful with your lungs though, freezing air in great draughts is bad for them.
Careful with your lungs though, freezing air...Crankist
Jan 2, 2002 7:06 AM
John, please say more.
Careful with your lungs though, freezing air...John-d
Jan 2, 2002 7:18 AM
Well, as you get older things get more delicate. If you breathe too deeply and take freezing air deep into the lungs, this is not good for your health.

IMHO riding in freezing air should be done at a rate where you can breathe through the nostrils. This allows the air to warm up a bit before it hits your tubes and lungs.

Additionally, it makes sense to use the winter for base gentle riding. Too much early season training and you peak too early. Space it out and save peak fitness for the summer.
Breathing through nostrils in low temps...Alex-in-Evanston
Jan 2, 2002 7:22 AM
I just can't do it. When it's really cold I get too sniffly to breath through my nose. Not from congestion, the frigid air just makes my nose run.

I use a balaclava when it's below 20. The thing gets moist and uncomfortable around my mouth, but I feel like the moisture on the fabric conditions the dry, freezing air a bit before it hits the lungs.

Yes, I agree with both points..John-d
Jan 2, 2002 7:34 AM
I find that it is not too bad down to say freezing point, I just clear the nostrils in the time honoured way, when riding alone of course.

Below freezing, well, I go to the gym and ride the exercise bike. The thing is that where I live the temperature does not stay below freezing for too many weeks so it is easy to not hit the boredom threshold.

Heres to warm weather riding.

Careful with your lungs though, freezing air...NYCyclist
Jan 2, 2002 10:46 AM

The idea that "cold air is bad for your lungs" has some basis in fact. Specifically, the introduction of cold air into your lungs can cause bronchospasm, both severe and mild. Basically, the cold air is really irritating to your lungs. Your lungs respond by contracting the smooth muscle around your bronchioles (think asthma) to prevent this "irritant" from getting in. If you have severe bronchospasm, you can die, especially if you have a history of asthma.. I've seen it. The average person is more likely to experience some minor wheezing and some shortness of breath, especially if you engage in some aerobic activity!

Another problem with cold air, addressed by someone else on the board, is that it tends to be very dry as well. Your upper airway serves to humidify, warm, and filter air going to your lungs; when an athlete is forced to breath through his/her mouth the nasal passages are bypassed and this allows relatively unwarmed, unhumidified air to enter the lungs. We addressed the cold issue above. Dry air will "dry out" your lungs, causing some irritation. In addition, you loose a significant amount of moisture when you exhale! Don't forget to drink lots of fluids to counteract this "insensible" fluid loss. Ever go and work out hard in cold weather, especially at altitude, for a few days? You can often feel irritation for days afterwards when you take a deep breath.

Is cold air "bad"? Not really, but your body does interact with it in a manner different from warm air.
Yikes-Strike 3!Crankist
Jan 2, 2002 11:20 AM
Thanks for the response. I live @ 5200 ft. in NM, humidity usually around 20% or less, temps low 20s F - 50s F. I drink a lot of fluids in cold weather, but also notice some small lung irritation after long cold rides. Perhaps I'll slow down a bit,
but nothing short of rickets will keep me home.
Blurry VisionKristin_CLS
Jan 2, 2002 12:02 PM
Yes I have this...and severely. Its not just from exercise outside. I'm still undiagnosed, and eye doctors scratch their heads over it. When I am outside in the cold (below 20) my vision blurs up quickly. I think its a matter of constricted blood vessels around the eye. I have a mild form of ranauds(sp?) and this may be a factor.

I'm seeing an opthamologist next month and he will give me two eye exams. One after resting with a warm towel on my eyes and the second after putting an ice pack on them. I'll post an message if it turns up anything interesting.
Use Ski GogglesAllUpHill
Jan 2, 2002 12:32 PM
Ski goggles are great for riding in frigid weather. Infact they're now a necessity to me because they let me go for many hours comfortably. No only do they keep the cold wind away from your eyeballs, the part of the foam 'gasket' that goes over the bridge of the nose keeps that region warmer -- my nose ordinarily turns into a faucet when riding in the cold but keeping it warm up there dramatically reduces the flow.

The goggles are kind of an awkward fit with a helmet, and maybe they don't look so hot, but when you're trooping it out in wintertime comfort beats style any day.

I suspect you'll be able to wear your prescription glasses under them.