Beauty Clinic: What to do about tired, red, scratchy eyes?
Q. I have been doing a lot of screen work recently and my eyes are sore and pink and puffy. Are there any products that will reduce the problems please and any make up tips?
A. Eye strain is such a common problem for screen workers, according to London-based optometrist Sona Thakerar, founder of Aston & Woods (astonandwoods.com).
She explains: ‘when we stare at the screen for long periods, the blink rate reduces so the protective layer of tears on the surface evaporates very quickly. This causes your eyes to become dry and sore. Sometimes they water too.’
Air conditioning and central heating – dry air – make the problem worse so do keep a bowl of water topped up on your desk and consider investing in a humidifier.
The remedy is two fold: to supplement the existing tear cells and also stop the tear layer evaporating. Sona recommends two products to soothe, hydrate and lubricate eyes. These are Thealoz Duo, £13.99 for 10ml from boots.com and other suppliers, and also Hycosan Extra Preservative E Drops, £10.99 for 7.5ml. (If you choose other drops, do make sure they are preservative free, Sona advises, as preservatives make make the irritation worse.)
Make up wise, the ideal solution is not to wear eye make up when you are at the screen. You can apply it after work. If you cant do that, then perhaps wear the minimum you can at work and consider choosing a natural brand such as Neal’s Yard Remedies or Green People, as synthetic chemicals may increase sensitivity.
Whichever route you choose, it is vital to keep your lashes and lids absolutely clean. When tears evaporate the protective layer on the surface of the eyes is impairs. So dust and debris of all kinds that have built up on the eyes can get in and may make the eyes prone to infections, conjunctivitis and blocked glands as well as causing irritation.
When you remove make up, use a dedicated eye make up remover, then a lid wipe such as Blephaclean Sterile Wipes, £9.99 for 20 ready to use wipes. If you prefer not to use wipes, the brand also offers Blephasol Micelle lotion, £10.99 for 100ml, and cooling Blephagel Sterile Gel, £10.99 for 30g. Also use the eyelid cleanser in the morning before applying make up so you have a clean base to start with and are not layering up grime and dust.
Sona has also found that taking omega-3 supplements (fish oil or flax seed oil for veggies) help clients with dry eyes. Eating oily fish and plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts is important.
Finally, do protect your eyes from airborne particles outside by wearing big glasses – they’re glamorous as well as protective.