As the snow and ice sets in, Salford Specsavers are advising residents on how to keep their eyes safe from the harsh effects of cold winds and central heating which often leave eyes feeling bloodshot, gritty and dry.

Winter can be an uncomfortable time for many, Christopher Hogarth store director at Salford Specsavers on Briar Hill Way, is offering some helpful tips and facts which will help prevent eye irritation.

Tips on maintaining healthy winter eyes

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

Christopher Hogarth 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

The common cold and flu effects many people at this time of year. As respiratory infections they can inflame your conjunctiva – the clear membrane covering the whites of your eyes, leaving them feeling irritated. You can help stop the spread of infection from bacteria in coughs and sneezes by washing your hands before touching your eyes.

Christopher 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.’

Poor light conditions can make you susceptible to eyestrain therefore winter is an ideal time to get your eyes tested. Everyone should get their eyes tested once every two years, or sooner if you are experiencing problems.

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