The winter months can pose a few challenges for your eye health. Thankfully there are some very simple things you can do to take better care of your eyes during this season.
Sunglasses aren’t just for summer
Glare can be a real issue during the winter, whether it is caused by bright sunshine reflecting off snow, puddles or heavy frost or the dazzle of the low sun on a winter afternoon.
Sunglasses are the perfect way to reduce this glare, but they also have other year-round benefits. They provide protection against UV rays which, over the years, can cause significant damage to your eyes, while also protecting the skin around the eye, reducing the risk of skin cancer.
And on bright winter days, sunglasses can help reduce eyestrain and headaches, too.
Winter sun can be very low and very bright and can often cause real problems when driving. If you are struggling with this debilitating glare, it’s really important to choose the right pair of sunglasses. Make sure you get the right colour and depth of tint – polarised lenses can be really helpful. Also make sure the frame doesn’t obscure your vision.
And if you take part in winter sports such as skiing then choosing the right eyewear is vital.
Patrick & Menzies Partner and Dispensing Optician Dan Edwards, explained: “A much larger amount of ultra violet is reflected off snow than off concrete or grass for example. So, if you do take part in winter sports, we can help you select the right eyewear to protect your eyes.”
Find out more about choosing the right pair of sunglasses here.
Be dry eye aware
Dry Eye is a common problem during the winter months, though it can occur all year round, especially if there is an underlying condition.
Dan explained: “During the colder months people are likely to have the central heating on at home and the hot air blowers on in the car, both of which dry out the air. On top of that typically, we spend more time indoors during the winter, and possibly more time looking at electronic devices. All of these things have a knock-on effect for our eye health, potentially leading to Dry Eye symptoms.”
Depending on how severely you are suffering, the most common symptoms are uncomfortable eyes which can look red and feel sore.
Dan continued: “The best way to combat Dry Eye is to make the most of the tears your body can produce itself. Keep your eyelids clear and clean and use a hot compress to make sure the ducts and glands that secrete tears are clear and clean, too. If this doesn’t help you can consider using artificial tear drops which you can get from the optician or pharmacist.
“If you are suffering from Dry Eye, please do give us a call so we can work out the best course of action. We can either arrange for you to see an optometrist or, if the symptoms are mild, then we can advise which products may help make your eyes feel more comfortable.”
Want to find out more about Dry Eye? Check out our Dry Eyes blog.
Take a screen break
With wintery weather leading to more time spent indoors there is a temptation to turn to electronic devices for entertainment.
If you do find yourself looking at a screen for a long period of time, make sure you take regular breaks. The suggested guidance is to make sure every 20 minutes you look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Dan added: “If you are finding it uncomfortable looking at the screen for long periods, and other problems such as any blur or dry eye have been addressed, then it can help to check the colour balance, brightness and contrast. A lot of people just put up with the factory settings when it comes to their screen, but altering the settings can make it more comfortable for your eyes, obviously so long as it suits what you are using the screen for. For example, changing the background colour so you aren’t typing black on white can reduce the contrast and really help.”
As with any time of the year, if you notice a change in your vision or are concerned about your eye health, please do get in touch to book an appointment, rather than wait for your next regular check-up.
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