As the icy winter weather sets in, Specsavers Stockport are advising local residents on how to safeguard their eyes from the harsh effects of cold winds and central heating which can leave eyes feeling gritty, bloodshot and dry.

At what can be a very uncomfortable period for many, Frances Prescott, store director at Stockport Specsavers, is offering a few helpful tips and facts which will help prevent eye soreness.

Keep your eyes healthy this winter

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

Frances 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.’

Stop the spread of bacteria

At this time of year many people can suffer from flu and the common cold. These two illnesses are respiratory infections that can cause your conjunctiva to become inflamed – the clear membrane covering the whites of your eyes, leaving them feeling irritated. You can help stop spread of bacteria from coughs and sneezes by cleaning your hands before touching your eyes.

Frances added: ‘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.’

Everyone should get their eyes tested once every two years, or sooner if you are experiencing problems, but winter is an ideal time to get your eyes tested as poor light conditions can make you susceptible to eyestrain.

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