Lancaster's Specsavers opticians are committed to helping local residents protect their eyes from the harsh effects of cold winds and central heating which often leave eyes feeling dry, gritty and bloodshot.

At what can be a truly uncomfortable time of year for many, Martin Jeffery, store director at the Cheapside store, is offering a few helpful tips and facts which will help prevent eye soreness.

Beat the winter weather 

Of course, 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

The gritty sensation and dryness we sometimes experienced in our eyes during the winter months can also be made worse by dehydration.

Clear advice

Martin said: ‘While many enjoy a hot drink at this time of year, it's wise to cut back on caffeine 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.’ 

By turning down the temperature on your central heating, avoiding car heaters, especially at face level, and sitting away from direct heat such as gas or electric heaters, you can help prevent irritation of dry eyes throughout the cold months.

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

Sunglasses for winter

Martin 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.

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