Opticians in Macclesfield are advising local residents on how to shield their eyes from the bitter effects of cold winds and central heating which often leave eyes feeling bloodshot, dry and gritty.

Luckily, Duncan Mackenzie, director at the Specsavers store in the Grosvenor Centre, is offering some helpful tips and facts which will help prevent eye soreness.

Safeguard your eyes

Avoiding car heaters, especially at face level, sitting away from direct heat such as gas or electric heaters and turning down the temperature on your central heating, are just a few ways of reducing the irritation of dry eyes. The dry and gritty feeling we occasionally experience in our eyes during the winter months can be worsened by dehydration.

Duncan Mackenzie 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 seem to not make sense but it’s actually a vital contribution to the oil content of the tears.’

Prevent the spread of bacteria

Particularly 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 irritated. You can help prevent cross infection from bacteria in coughs and sneezes by washing your hands before touching your eyes.

Duncan Mackenzie added: ‘It may surprise many but, even though it is winter, sunglasses are still 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, however winter is an ideal time as poor light conditions can make you susceptible to eyestrain.

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