Nelson Specsavers are advising local residents on how to protect their eyes from the effects of icy winds and central heating which can leave eyes feeling bloodshot, dry and gritty.

At what can be an irritating time for many, David Cleasby, store director at Nelson Specsavers, shares his knowledge on how to prevent eye soreness.

Helpful hints to stop eye irritation

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

David said: ‘While many enjoy a hot drink at this time of year, it is good advice 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 infection

Especially at this time of year, many people suffer from the common cold and flu. These are respiratory infections and can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva – the clear membrane covering the whites of your eyes, leaving them feeling sore. You can help prevent the spread of infection from bacteria in sneezes and coughs by washing your hands before touching your eyes.

David adds: ‘It may surprise many but, even though it is winter, sunglasses are still handy to have. 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 reflect more UV radiation so remember your sunglasses after snowfall or on skiing holidays.’

The winter is the perfect time to get your eyes tested as poor light conditions can cause eyestrain. Everyone should get their eyes tested once every two years, or sooner if you are experiencing problems.

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