Staff at an opticians in Leigh are advising local residents on how to protect their eyes from the harsh effects of central heating and icy winds which often leave eyes feeling bloodshot, gritty and dry.

At what can be a painful time for many, Rumit Patel, store director at Leigh Specsavers on Bradshawgate, is sharing a few helpful tips and facts which will help stop eye soreness.

Tips for healthy eyes this winter

Avoiding car heaters, especially at face level, reducing the setting on your central heating and sitting away from direct heat such as gas or electric heaters are just a few ways of reducing the irritation of dry eyes in the winter months.The gritty sensation and dryness we sometimes experience in our eyes during winter can also be made worse by dehydration.

Rumit Patel said: ‘While we all enjoy a hot drink at this time of year, cut back on the coffee and drink more water. Additionally, using eye drops can add extra lubrication to dry eyes. The term ‘dry eye’ is used when the oil content of the tears doesn’t efficiently lubricate the eye. People with dry eyes often have plenty of watery tears so adding eye drops may not seem to make sense but it’s actually a vital contribution to the oil content of the tears.’

Stop the spread of bacteria

At this time of year many people suffer from the common cold and flu. These are respiratory infections and can inflame your conjunctiva – the clear membrane covering the whites of your eyes, leaving them feeling sore. You can help prevent the spread of infection from bacteria in coughs and sneezes by washing your hands before touching your eyes.

Winter is an ideal time to get your eyes tested as poor light conditions can make you susceptible to eyestrain.

Rumit Patel added: ‘It may surprise many but, even though it is winter, sunglasses are still very handy. The sun is low in the sky at this time of year and can be uncomfortably bright for drivers. Sunglasses give the added protection against ultraviolet radiation and can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. The snow will be here soon too and will reflect more UV radiation so remember your sunglasses after snowfall or on skiing holidays.’

Everyone should get their eyes tested once every two years, or sooner if you are experiencing problems.

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