Beauty Clinic: TLC for sore eyes


Q. I tend to get sore, itchy eyes from working at a screen and it’s always worse as the weather gets cold. Can you suggest anything?

A. Dry air inside and outside, low light and reflective snowy and/or icy surfaces can spell extra trouble for eyes.  They can become sore, red and itchy, feel tired and look less than sparkling for the party season. The US National Eye Institute recommends taking frequent breaks from working at a screen, also closing your eyes for a few minutes or blinking repeatedly. 

Optometrist Sona Thakerar, founder of Aston & Woods (, which has now opened its flagship store in central London, offers simple practical tips. (However, if you feel the problem is serious, please consult your GP.)

Keep your eyes moist. Invest in a humidifier for your home and office to keep air moist and reduce dry eyes.  Even putting bowls of water around can help. Also use good quality lubricating eye drops. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends Hycosan Extra eye drops with hyaluronic acid to sooth and comfort gritty-feeling eyes/£10.95 for 7.5 ml from

Additionally, we’ve found that screen-tired eyes are greatly soothed by stroking round the eye area and on the lids with Trilogy Very Gentle Calming Serum/£29.50 for 30 ml, from

Wear sunglasses. Donning big glamorous Jackie O shades, with wide side-bars, helps to protect eyes from cold air as well as pollution, and of course ultra violet light, which is as harmful in winter as summer. If you’re skiing remember that up to 80 per cent of UV rays can be reflected by the snow, making unprotected eyes very vulnerable to damage.  We like Boots own brand sunnies, which are reasonably priced.

Organise good targeted lighting indoors. The lack of natural light can make any close work – reading, writing, sewing, carpentry and so on – a strain for eyes, particularly if you have any sort of vision problems.  Straining to see tires your eyes and probably causes you to furrow your brow (not good for lines). So make sure you have a really good clear strong light source. High quality reading lights are available from ranges such as

A final thought: if you wear reading glasses, do make sure you have regular eye tests to keep your prescription up to date.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash