Eye health: how to protect them in winter

Eye health: how to protect them in winter

Publication date: 12-01-2022

Updated on: 01-03-2023

Topic: Ophthalmology

Estimated reading time: 1 min

How to take care of eye health, also defending it from the coronavirus? A specialist from the Palazzo della Salute wellness clinic advises

Not just face masks are necessary today. The eye also needs to be protected. We now know that the eyes can be a place of perception of the coronavirus, not to mention that they can ‘get sick’ and develop viral conjunctivitis themselves.

For this reason, it is essential to remember to take care of the eyes. But how? By following piece of advice ranging from daily eye hygiene to the choice of food. Dr. Claudio Savaresi, Head of the Visual Wellness Center of Palazzo della Salute and the Ophthalmology Unit of the Policlinico San Marco, explains us everything about.

Eyes as a transmission point of the coronavirus

“The eye is an organ very rich in blood vessels, nerve endings that have a mucous membrane (conjunctival) that is always exposed. Inside the eye circulates six times more blood than in a kidney. This feature allows the viruses to enter into circulation very quickly through the ocular and eyelid conjunctiva, giving rise to different symptoms depending on the type of virus.

In case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus it has been proven that it is able to replicate in the conjunctiva. This shows that the eyes represent both an entrance and exit door for viruses and therefore a potential source of contagion. It is essential to protect them”, explains Dr. Savaresi.

Use of protective lenses in winter

“To counter the risk of contagion, but also to preserve the entire ocular apparatus (cornea, lens and retina) and also the sight, it is essential to wear wraparound sunglasses and protective lenses, essential for shielding solar rays. These should be worn not only in summer, but all year round. Also glasses with protective lenses are essential for preventing the onset of major eye disorders as recommended by the Italian Scientific Society of Ophthalmology”, continues Dr. Savaresi.

Ocular hygiene and hydration

“In this historical moment, it is important to pay maximum attention to hygiene not only for the hands, but also for the eyes. Ocular hygiene is crucial for significantly reducing the infections of this precious organ.

In particular, it is essential to avoid some bad habits that in addition to compromising eye health can affect the risk of spreading the virus:

  • remove make-up properly at the end of the day;
  • do not rub your eyelids with unwashed hands.

Another 'golden' rule is to moisturize: use eye drops regularly, drink plenty of water in small sips throughout the day”, explains Dr. Savaresi.

Role of proper nutrition

“Eye health is also preserved by consuming foods that are rich in precious substances to strengthen the immune system, for example:

  • all foods rich in vitamins A and C such as kiwi, citrus, cherry and blueberry;
  • blue fish;
  • codfish;
  • wild salmon from Alaska;
  • most of the vegetables.

Furthermore, it is good to take the right quantities of omega-3 and omega-6, these substances participate in the formation of the lipid portion of the tear film, that is the substance that protects and hydrates the cornea, allowing a better barrier function against external agents.

If necessary, probiotics (lactic ferments) can be associated, which are modulators of inflammatory processes and act at the level of the intestinal microbiota (the set of microorganisms that ‘live’ in the intestine and promote digestion and create a barrier against microbes and prevent gastrointestinal disorders)”.

Prevention of the retina and macula disorders

To counteract the onset disorders of the retina and macula (central part of the retina), it is important to consume:

  • Astaxanthin, which defends against damage induced by ultraviolet rays and has been shown to significantly improve ocular microcirculation;
  • carotenoids such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which serve to shield and absorb the harmful component of the sun rays;
  • Zinc, which counteracts the progression of age-related degeneration of the macula (an aging disease affecting the macula), especially in its early stages.

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