Winter Eye Care – Providing self-care eye health essentials.
Pharmacist Sid Dajani and advisor to Golden Eye® – the brains behind the pharmacy recommended range of drops and ointments to treat conjunctivitis, styes and blepharitis – www.goldeneyecare.co.uk – says: ‘Winter conditions such as cold temperatures, harsh winds, colds & flu, and indoor heating can all play havoc with eyes resulting in inflammation, redness, dry eyes and tenderness.
“We shouldn’t ignore eye care when it comes to winter and should keep a look out for our eyes when we notice a change – be it from managing the environment around, putting into place simple steps to help winter eyes or using treatments such as Golden Eye to help manage symptoms.
Pharmacist Sid Dajani looks at some of the eye problems that can occur because of winter conditions and provides tips on how we can look after our eyes as the season changes.
With winter comes colds and flus which means more bacteria and viruses are around. These can help spread conjunctivitis.
If you are suffering from a cold, simply blowing your nose, and then touching your eyes without washing your hands can result in conjunctivitis. Equally being in contact with someone with a cold who hasn’t washed their hands, and you then touch a surface they have touched and then touch your eyes can leave you with a bout of conjunctivitis.
A stye is a small lump on the eyelid and is a bacterial infection of either an eyelash follicle or a gland near the eyelashes.
With winter colds and flus we are more likely to touch or rub our eyes which means greater risk of a stye forming.
In addition, during the colder seasons the immune system must work harder, and if it is compromised in anyway this can leave the body less able to fight bacterial infections such as a stye.
Blepharitis, a common eye condition causing inflammation of the eyelids is estimated toaccount for around 5% of eye-health-related GP visits.
This condition tends to be worse during winter months due to the wind and indoor heating.
Even the use of digital screens such as laptops can cause this eye problem, and while this can be an all-year issue, during winter months we are likely to be indoors and using digital screens more.
Given winter air is dryer than summer air it’s no surprise that people tend to experience Dry Eye Syndrome in the colder months.
Exposure to dry cold air cold and wind dehydrates the eye and this is when people may notice that their eyes may run when outside in the cold – or indoors because of indoor heating.
While some people experience a lack of tears in the winter, others have the opposite problem.
Excess tearing and runny eyes can occur due to cold air, biting winds, or seasonal allergies. Pay attention to when your eyes tear up to determine the cause.
While many winter eye health problems result from increased light or decreased moisture, you can also experience eye conditions caused by the cold temperature.
Extremely low temperatures cause the blood vessels in and around the eyes to constrict, and this constriction can cause immediate vision changes, such as blurriness and double vision.
These changes are most likely to occur when you stay outside for long periods of time in temperatures that are well below freezing.
Tips for winter eye care
Wash your hands regularly: we should all be used to doing this now. From washing hands when we come in from outside, before we eat or handle food, after using the toilet and if we have a cold or flu.
Avoid touching your eyes: this may sound obvious, but we touch our face around 23 times a day. Moving hair from our face, scratching an itchy nose, rest our face on our hands and rubbing eyes when they are feeling tired.
Boost your diet: in winter we need to look after our immune system so make sure your diet includes some immune supporting foods – lots of colourful fruit and veg.
Carry hand sanitizer: use hand sanitizer when out and about to keep bacteria and germs away from the hands which could find their way to the eyes.
Wash your face: keeping your face clean is key as bacteria from the face and around the eye can cause eye problems such as conjunctivitis, stye and blepharitis
Consult a pharmacist: A pharmacist will be able to advise and provide an OTCeye treatment in the form of drops or ointment such as Golden Eye®. Be awarethat a red eye caused by an allergy may require a different type of eye treatment.The pharmacist will advise
Soothe sore and dry eyes: A cold compress may soothe your eyes. A cleandamp flannel that has been submerged in very cool water is ideal. For dry eyes,use an eye lubricant drop.