As the cold winter climate sets in, staff at Specsavers in Barrow-in-Furness optician are advising locals on how to protect their eyes from the harsh backlash of cold winds twinned with central heating which can often leave eyes feeling gritty, bloodshot and dry.

As a result, winter can be a truly uncomfortable time for many. Simon LeFever, store director at Barrow-in-Furness Specsavers on Dalton Road, is offering a handful of helpful facts and tips which will help avert eye soreness.

Stop dry eyes from ruining your winter

Turning down 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 few ways to reduce the irritation of dry eyes this winter. The dry and gritty sensation we sometimes experience in our eyes during winter can also be made worse by dehydration.

Simon LeFever 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 

The common cold and flu can further irritate the eyes due to cross infection of bacteria from coughs and sneezes. As a result of this, your conjunctiva can become inflamed  – the clear membrane covering the whites of your eyes, leaving them feeling sore. You can help prevent the spread of infection by washing your hands before touching your eyes.

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

Simon LeFever 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.

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