How the Common Cold Can Affect Your Eyes

How the Common Cold Can Affect Your Eyes

When we’re sick, even with the common cold, it saps our energy no matter how determined we might be to stay engaged with the very activities that can keep us healthy. Many of us make New Year resolutions that include things like weight loss or starting a gym routine, but being under the weather definitely gets in the way of keeping those promises to ourselves.

The cold dry air of winter is very hospitable to the viruses and bacteria that can make us sick. And the holidays often bring us into increased contact with people who might be sick, even if you or they don’t know it yet. Physical contacts can pass the germs that will infect, but even a simple sneeze can spread it out across a crowded mall walkway soon send dozens of people for their beds in misery.

Most germs need to get into our bodies to carry that illness in. And not just the nose or mouth, though those are definitely a possible entry point. The eyes will work just as well for these illness invaders. And when it’s cold and dry out, we’re more likely to experience eye discomfort that encourages us to rub at our eyes. If your hands aren’t clean before you do that, sickness could be in your future.

Key Points:

  • 1Three common effects on the eyes from the common cold are pink eye, burning and itching, and light sensitivity.
  • 2It is very easy for viruses to be transmitted between the eyes, nose, and throat.
  • 3Minimizing how much you touch or rub your eyes is the best way to avoid any effects on the eyes while you have a cold.


A number of things can cause pink eye—chemical or smoke exposure, bacteria in the eye, and a viral infection.
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