An optician in Middleton is advising residents on how to protect their eyes from the harsh effects of the cold weather and central heating this winter which often leave eyes feeling bloodshot, gritty and dry.

As this can cause extreme discomfort for some, Krupal Sheth, store director at Middleton Specsavers, is offering a few helpful tips and facts which will help prevent eye irritation.

Tips on how to prevent eye irritation

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 just a few ways of reducing the irritation of dry eyes this winter. The dry and gritty sensation we sometimes experience in our eyes during the winter months, can also be made worse by dehydration.

Krupal 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.’

Stop the spread of infection

The flu and common cold circulates much more in the winter months. 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.

Krupal 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, therefore the winter period is an ideal time to get your eyes tested as poor light conditions can make you susceptible to eyestrain.

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