As part of my ongoing Glow Up project it’ll perhaps come as no surprise that in leaving no stone unturned I’m turning my attention to my eyes – and in particular healthy eyes.
It’s easy to go for some quick wins in the eye department to make them look a bit better on a cosmetic level – an eyelash tint, a new mascara, or some fluttery new eyelashes – but what I really needed was for them to feel better too.
Here’s my top tips and products to help you look after your eyes too.
Optrex ActiMist 2in1 Spray
If the eyes are the window to the soul then this stuff is Windolene – fast-acting, refreshing, and doesn’t budge your make up; I absolutely lived on this stuff as a new mother when countless sleepless nights left my eyes bloodshot and in need of matchsticks.
Perfect for office workers and anyone who spends a long time using a screen or rolling into work hungover, for long journeys, and to freshen your eyes up before a meeting or date.
I’m a contact lens wearer so it’s an absolute godsend having a product that you can spray onto closed eyes and it still works. I’ve also got naturally dry eyes and key triggers for me are central heating (or even worse storage heaters), air con, late nights and tiredness, and – *ahem* – my age. Also being a woman doesn’t help. Sucks to be me, huh?
I love Optrex ActiMist 2in1 Dry + Irritated Eye Spray but you might also love the sprays for Tired + Uncomfortable Eyes with Pro-Vitamin B5 or (the rather self explanatory) Itchy + Watery Eyes.
Keep it in your handbag, your desk drawer, or in the car – and buy some for anyone you know who’s just had a new baby!
Make a Professional Appointment
I’ve been going to the opticians for as long as I can remember so it’s second nature to me, but even if you don’t wear glasses or contacts it’s still important to have your eye health checked. It’s not all about just reading the letters off the big chart – there’s other ways to see what’s going on behind the scenes. I don’t want to scare anyone but there’s more to it than just whether you need glasses or not.
You can expect to pay up to £50 for a full eye health check and scans (as opposed to just the sight test that some high street chains offer for cheap or free), or see if your employer offers a scheme where they’ll reimburse the cost.
I’ve already mentioned my dry eyes which can be brought on by all kinds of things with oil glands and tear ducts behind the scenes, plus environmental factors like poor sleep, contact lens use, stress, and the use of the contraceptive pill, anti histamines, or anti depressants (don’t know about you but it’s like playing risk factor bingo for me and I just got a full house). It’s an uncomfy nuisance in itself and can also lead to an inflammatory (but thankfully not contagious) condition around the eyelashes called Blepharitis.
That’s where Blephasol comes in handy. First recommended to me by my Optician, you can get it online or from chemists without a prescription for around a tenner. It’s called a lotion but it’s a clear and watery liquid which doesn’t need washing off after use. Simply apply with cotton wool pads (using clean hands, obvs) and wipe each eye separately. Want to know an added bonus? It’s a fab eye make up remover too.
Eye Mask, Compresses, and Taking Matters Into My Own Hands
You know you’re in poor health when your eyes start playing up, and there’s no surer sign of being under the weather than an irritating and ugly stye appearing on your peepers.
I had one – fairly small but bothersome – for a good few months recently and put it this way – you’re lucky I’m a blogger and not a vlogger because eventually I could take no more and had to take a more hands on approach.
Turns out, it was a stubborn little bugger, so I had to lay weeks of groundwork ready for the big eviction. Here’s what I tried:
First, a bread and milk poultice. Apparently it helps to draw yuckiness from various places, and while it did a good job of moulding into the hollow of my eye socket while I lay down, it didn’t seem to make a difference to the stye.
Next up was magnesium sulphate paste which is excellent for ingrown hairs (especially on the fellas) applied to a cotton wool pad. It’s known for its drawing properties but was a bit messy and I was keen not to let it get into my actual eye.
Last resort was repeated use of the MGDRx Eye Bag from the Eye Bag Company which I used as a warm compress. This was another thing that my Optician recommended to me to warm up my oil glands before gently massaging my eyelids to relieve dry eyes.
It’s a silk and cotton sorta-kinda-eye-mask-shaped bag that you microwave briefly then use for just a few minutes preferably twice a day if you suffer from dry eyes or maybe less often if you just fancy giving your eyes a break from your phone screen.
After a few weeks the stye hadn’t made its own way out but did look ready to be dealt with. So I washed my hands, sterilised a needle, and got rid of it (and if that makes you squeamish then you should hear about some of the other basic medical procedures I’ve had a bash at on myself!).
As with anything, if you think there’s anything worrying or unusual happening with your eyes that you’ll see professional help from your GP and/or Optician. For preventative measures and for minor issues like tired or irritated eyes I hope my whirlwind tour of some of the products available on the market will help you keep your peepers sparkly and refreshed.