Don't risk your eye health this winter: Tips from the experts

Posted on: 28 November 2019 by 50connect editorial

Problems with winter eye health will have many over 50s experiencing discomfort and squinting through the colder months. Here are some tips on how you can protect your peepers.

Winter eye health

We love winter; cosy fires, hot chocolate, stodgy food and of course Christmas! But with winter comes cold winds and central heating; which means hello dry eyes!

But it’s not only dry eyes that you need to contest with when it comes to the perils of winter eye health. Here is some advice on how you can look after your eyes during the festive period.

Take care of dry eyes

Dry eye syndrome affects approximately one in every three people aged 65 and over; most of which is due to their environment. Aeroplanes and air conditioned rooms are the biggest culprits.

Dry eyes are more common during the winter because of the lack of moisture in the air. The clever eyes try to compensate for this absence, resulting in watery eyes; very annoying if you’re wearing mascara! Central heating is one of the main offenders, because it speeds up evaporation of the eyes’ moisture.

Turning down your central heating, even slightly, can make a noticeable difference. We also suggest purchasing a good quality humidifier, to help regulate moisture levels in the air.

If dry eyes are becoming particularly bothersome your doctor may prescribe you artificial tears (eye drops). These comprise of a specific combination of oil, mucus and water, which help to manage rapid evaporation.

Is there treatment for dry eyes?

MiBo Thermoflo is a treatment used by Ultralase to relieve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

MiBo Thermoflo is a quick, non-invasive and painless procedure which provides patients with instant relief from dry eyes. The procedure itself takes around 12 minutes per eye; with a course of 3 or 4 treatments usually required.

During the procedure ultrasound gel is applied to closed eyes. The upper and lower lids are then gently massaged using a MiBo eye pad. This eye pad is heated to a comforting temperature to encourage the glands around the eyes to produce more oil. The sensation is often described as soothing.

Results are felt almost always immediately, with no side effects. The eyes will feel nice and moist following each treatment; with results usually lasting for 6-12 months.

winter driving

Driving in winter

The longer nights can mean more reliance of glasses whilst driving at night. This is because vision becomes more blurred in darker environments, due to the dilation of the pupils.

Needless to say, stay safe on the road guys - reduce your speed and give yourself more time when travelling.

On the other hand, driving in daylight can also become troublesome, with the low position of the sun. Although this can’t be changed there are small things you can do to improve your view when driving.

  • Ensure your windscreen is clean both inside and out - grease and smears will only add to the problem.
  • Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to help with the glare from the sun.
  • Replace worn or damaged wiper blades.
  • Clear snow from the roof, to stop it from falling onto the windscreen whilst driving.
  • Demist your windscreen before you set off.

Look after your eyes when increasing screen time

Winter is the perfect excuse to stay in and watch your favourite festive films. You may not even think about what this extra screen time is doing to your eyes, but it can be harmful.

By all means enjoy your Christmas movie night but try to give your eyes a little slack by adopting the 20-20-20 rule; for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds- simple!

Be aware of snow blindness

If you’re lucky enough to be hitting the slopes this winter, be mindful of snow blindness. Sounds ridiculous right? But snow reflects more than 80% of the UV rays that fall upon it.

The medical term for snow blindness is ‘photokeratitis’ and refers to inflammation of the cornea- ouch!

Symptoms usually arise within a few hours after exposure and can last for up to 48 hours.

Symptoms of snow blindness include:

  • Eye pain
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning sensation
  • A feeling or grit or sand in the eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Blurry vision
  • Puffy eyes or eyelids
  • Haloes around lights
  • Temporary difference in your colour vision
  • Headaches

We suggest you add high quality UV blocking ski goggles to your Christmas list this year!

Want more tips on how to keep your eyes healthy? Check out the Ultralase blog here

Photos by Martin Reisch and Thom Holmes on Unsplash

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