As the icy winter weather takes hold, Specsavers Rochdale are advising local residents on how to protect their eyes from the harsh effects of cold winds and central heating which often leave eyes feeling gritty, dry and bloodshot.

At what can be a very uncomfortable time for many, Catherine Hughes, store director at Rochdale Specsavers on Yorkshire Road, is offering a handful of tips and facts which will help prevent eye soreness.

Winter care tips

Decreasing the setting on your central heating, avoiding car heaters, especially at face level, and sitting away from direct heat such as gas or electric heaters are a couple of ways to help reduce the irritation of dry eyes this winter. Dehyrdation can also effect how quickly that uncomfortable gritty feeling and dryness we can experience in our eyes from recovering.

Catherine Hughes said: ‘While many enjoy a hot drink at this time of year, it is good advise to 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.’

Clean hands and healthy eyes

At this time of year many people suffer from the flu and common cold. These are  respiratory infections and can inflame your conjunctiva – the clear membrane that covers the whites of your eyes, leaving them feeling irritated. By washing your hands before touching your eyes, you are helping to prevent the spread of infection from bacteria in sneezes and coughs.

Catherine adds: ‘It may surprise many but, even though it is winter, sunglasses are still handy to have to hand. ‘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.’

Winter is an ideal time to get your eyes tested as poor light conditions can lead to eye strain and everyone should get their eyes tested once every two years, or sooner if you are experiencing issues.

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