Winter time has well and truly arrived! The next few months will be all about keeping as warm as possible, whether it is at work or snuggling up next to the fire or under the blankets at home. How many of you have thought about the health of your eyes during the cold months, though?
Winter can have an extreme effect on the health of your eyes – in this month’s newsletter we’ll be exploring this effect, while also providing you with some tips on how to care for your vision during this period.
Winter eye allergies or common cold: what are the differences?
The common cold shares many symptoms with winter allergies and it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the two. Both can present one with a runny & itchy nose, red & watery eyes, as well as scratchy eyes, but there are ways to tell them apart:
- If you are allergic, your nose will run a clear, watery secretion. If you have a cold, the secretion will be discoloured.
- If you have a cold, you will feel achy, feverish, and will experience chills. These symptoms won’t be present if you are allergic.
- If you have allergies, the symptoms will not subside. A cold usually runs its course in a week or two.
What should you do if you are experiencing allergies in the winter?
If you suspect that you might suffer from allergies, it’s very important to first find out what you are allergic to and why you are allergic. Approach your doctor or health care professional for some advice. Your doctor might take an allergy test – this test can determine what you are allergic too by exposing small controlled areas of your skin (usually on your arm) to different allergens like dander, mould, dust, etc. Your skin will react to what you are allergic to.
Once it has been determined what your symptoms are related to, whether it be allergy or dry eyes, De Jongh Optometry can assist to keep your eyes comfortable with the appropriate ocular treatment!
Three tips to keep your eyes healthy during winter
While people often think more about staying warm than taking care of their eyes during winter time, eye injury and irritation can just as easily occur during the cold season. Whether you’re heading to work or just snuggling up by the fire, be aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to take good vision for granted when you should actually be taking precautions.
Follow these three easy steps to ensure your eyes stay safe and healthy during winter:
- Keep your eyes moist. Heat or air circulation from a fire or heater can cause dryness and irritation of the eye. It can be particularly painful and annoying for those who already suffer from dry eye, a chronic condition where the body doesn’t properly produce tears. Try sitting farther away from heat sources and use artificial tears or a humidifier to alleviate dryness.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection. When it’s cold outside, the sun can damage your eyes in more ways than when the weather is warm. Colder conditions double the sun’s effect as ultraviolet (UV) rays can easily enter your eyes. Wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV light and consider wearing a hat or visor if conditions are particularly bright.
- Regulate your diet. Just like the rest of your body, your eyes feel better if you put the correct fuel into your system to keep them functioning properly. Eating healthy does not only help improve your vision, but can also keep your eyes from feeling uncomfortable or drying out. Drinking water and staying hydrated will help keep moisture in your eyes, and adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet will help improve their overall function.
If you are experiencing particularly uncomfortable dry eye, contact De Jongh Optometry for an appointment today.
New technology: the Slit Lamp
The diagnosis of dry eyes requires examination of the surface of the eye (ocular surface) with a bio microscope (also called a slit lamp). This optical instrument provides a magnified image of the tear film, the ocular surface, and the eyelids & allows careful examination of the anterior portions of the eye, including the anterior chamber and iris.
The application of non-toxic stains to the ocular surface (in the form of eye drops) can facilitate evaluation of the tear film and demonstrate areas of damage on the ocular surface. Lissamine green is used to demonstrate ocular surface changes associated with insufficient tear flow and excessive dryness.
Be sure to make your appointment with De Jongh Optometry if you suspect that you suffer from dry eye – we’ll take excellent care of your vision!
De Jongh Optometry: proud stockists of Adidas Sunglasses!
Combat winter glare with Adidas Zonyk Pro
Built for athletes, these sunglasses have a wrap-around design to give you a wide field of vision, which is especially effective during the winter months. They can be adjusted for a custom fit and come equipped with a detachable sweat-blocker for maximum comfort. The Quick-Change Lens System makes swapping lenses quick and easy and a detachable foam bar keeps sweat out of your eyes.
Adidas Zonyk Pro features:
- Sweat-blocking sunglasses with a streamlined design.
- 6-base Vision Advantage polycarbonate shield provides a wide field of vision and protection.
- The Lens Lock System allows an easy lens change and supports the fixation of the lens in the frame.
- FIT temples can be set to three positions to provide the best fit and minimise incoming wind and glare.
- The adjustable two-position Double-Snap Nose Bridge provides a comfortable fit and grip.
Ensure that your vision is in top shape during the winter by making an appointment at De Jongh Optometrists – our friendly and professional team will ensure that your eyes are very well cared for!