29 January 2019

The College of Optometrists issue eye health tips for winter as the cold bites

As we are about to enter a cold snap, The College of Optometrists is urging the public to take steps to protect their vision and eye health.

The College has developed a winter eye health poster to highlight the different ways winter can affect vision and exacerbate eye conditions. The infographic, which is available to download below, also advises readers on how to protect their eyes during the winter months, including tips on how to deal with dry eye exacerbated by cold weather and central heating, and what sunglasses you should be wearing.

Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists, said: “There are several things you may notice more in winter than in summer. One of these is an increased need to wear your glasses. This is because when there is less light available, your pupil expands which reduces the eye's depth of focus, and means that you notice blurriness more. For example, you may find that even if you don’t normally need to wear your glasses for driving, wearing them when driving at night makes more of a difference than wearing them during the day. 
“If you suffer from dry eye you may find that your central heating makes your eyes feel worse. To ease this, I would advise that you lower your room temperature or use a humidifier. If you have any questions, ask your optometrist for more information.”

The College of Optometrists has issued the following advice to help those who encounter vision problems during the winter:

  • The glare of a low-lying sun on icy or wet roads can cause difficulty for drivers, even those with good vision, so it’s really important to make sure your windscreen is clean, both inside and out.  Sunglasses can also help reduce glare, and if you wear glasses to drive, you can get these made to your prescription, or wear clip on sunglasses.
  • If you suffer from dry eye, it may be exacerbated by your central heating. To minimise the discomfort you should try to lower your room temperature or use a humidifier. 
  • Lower levels of light in winter can make reading and close tasks more difficult, especially for older people and those with existing vision problems. Try using extra light, and position it close to you, such as by using a standard or angle-poise lamp. 
  • As conditions get colder and the wind starts to pick up, many people complain that their eyes water more than normal. You can help reduce this by wearing spectacles to protect against the wind, even if you don’t usually wear them.

Further information and advice to help look after your eyes can be found on the College’s Look After Your Eyes website: lookafteryoureyes.org 


Notes to Editors

  1. The College is the professional body for optometry. We qualify the profession and deliver the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.
  2. Look After Your Eyes carries the Internet Crystal Mark, which is awarded to websites that meet language, accessibility, navigation, design and layout standards set by the Plain English Campaign. It was named Website of the Year, 2013 by MemCom, an industry body for membership marketing professionals.

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