As the icy winter weather sets in, a local optician is advising Northwich residents on how to 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 for many, Salma Kamaluddin, store director at Northwich Specsavers is offering a few helpful tips and facts which will help prevent eye soreness.

Steps to take to avoid eye soreness this winter

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

Salma Kamaluddin says: ‘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.’

Colds and flus can also affect eyes

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.

Sunglasses can be helpful during winter

Salma Kamaluddin adds: ‘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.’

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

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