Tired of having red, puffy eyes?
Achieving sparkling eyes which radiate excitement and energy is actually relatively easy if you have the right know-how.
Why is having bright eyes important?
Having eyes with sparkling whites is a great indicator of health and general vitality. Ideally, your irises (the coloured part of your eyes) should contrast sharply with your whites, and your eyes shouldn’t look sore or bloodshot.
It might be impossible to have sparkling eyes all the time, like the people you see in adverts and films, but there are ways you can ensure your eyes look and feel as healthy as possible.
Methods and products to brighten your eyes
There’s no magical way of immediately achieving sparkling eyes.
However, there are several methods you might want to test out to make them, and the skin around them, appear brighter and healthier.
11 causes of red eyes
Red eyes are normally caused by one or more of the following conditions:
Your red eyes could be triggered by outdoor influences such as pollen, grasses and trees.
Find out how to manage seasonal allergies here.
Allergies can also occur from outdoor effects such as pet fur, dust or mold. In these instances your eyes may also suffer from:
- Burning sensation
- Tearing or watery eye
You may also experience nasal allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and a stuffy nose.
It may be that your tear ducts are underactive and your tears don’t have the consistency they should.
Sometimes your eyes are unable to produce tears at all.
Dry eye can be painful and in more serious circumstances can cause ulcers on your cornea, and in severe cases can cause vision loss.
You may also experience the following:
- A gritty feeling
- A burning feeling
- Blurry vision
- Heavy eyelids
- Not being able to cry
- Eye fatigue
- Excess tears, at times when your eyes aren’t dry
- A stringy discharge
- Discomfort with contact lenses
This infection is also known as ‘pink eye’ and affects the clear layer that protects the eye.
The whites of your eye may become inflamed.
This could be because of a virus or bacteria. It’s very common, particularly in children, it’s usually very contagious.
If this is something you or your children have, then you should contact your doctor for further advice.
Broken blood vessels
Broken blood vessels occur when tiny blood vessels break beneath the surface of your eye.
Blood gets trapped, which makes the white of your eye turn bright red.
This can be bought on for a number of reasons, which include:
- Heavy lifting
- Rubbing your eyes
Broken blood vessels often look at lot worse than they are.
They don’t usually cause any pain and are or often more likely to occur when you are taking blood thinning medication.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60.
The condition is when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye.
This may cause pressure and in some circumstances can damage the optic nerve, however it’s usually painless.
Glaucoma can cause symptoms such as:
- Severe pain in your eye
- A headache
- Decreased or blurred vision
- Rainbows or halos in your vision
- Nausea and vomiting
It’s common for the chlorine found in swimming pools to cause irritation around the eye, which can cause them to go red.
If you are a smoker, the smoke from smoking can release toxins into the eye, which can cause irritation.
Not getting enough sleep can cause your eyes to become dry and red.
Try and make sure that you get into a good sleeping routine of around 8 hours a day.
Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, which can your eyes to become dry and red.
To avoid red eye you should try and stay within the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week for men and women.
The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause the decreased production of tears, which can cause the eyes to dry out and cause redness.
Contact lenses and eye drops
If not cleaned properly, contact lenses can cause dry eyes and make them red.
How to brighten eyes
There are a number of methods you can try to help your eyes start looking a bit brighter and fresher.
Try using eye drops
Hydration is key to having bright-looking eyes.
If you find yourself rubbing your eyes or blinking rapidly to keep them moisturised, it might be worth trying out eye drops. Rosewater is a good alternative to standard eye drops.
You can apply it using an eyedropper or dab it on gently around the eyes using cotton wool.1
Cool them with cucumber
You might have seen people applying cucumber slices to their eyes on TV before. It turns out that there is actually some science behind it!
Firstly, cucumbers contain an array of potent antioxidants and lots of vitamin C – all of which can promote healthy skin around the eyes.
Secondly, cucumber that’s chilled in the fridge, sliced and then placed on the eyes for around 15 minutes can be great at reducing the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.2
Another option which is equally as effective are cold green tea bags.
That’s because green tea is thought to have soothing properties and antioxidants, which can help reduce the appearance of swelling around the eye area.3
Eat plenty of omega-3
If you’re wondering how your diet could help your eyes, omega 3 is the answer.
This fatty acid is present in a number of delicious foods, including oily fish like salmon as well as flax seeds and walnuts.4
One type of omega 3 known as DHA is actually a major building block of the retina – a layer of light-sensitive tissue in our eyes which is what allows us to see.5
Get your beauty sleep
Lack of sleep is another cause of sore, red or dry eyes.
Getting enough shut-eye is vital for our eyes to recover from the stresses of everyday life, whether that’s being out in direct sunlight, spending long periods of time focusing on one task or simply staring at a screen.
Aim for between seven and nine hours sleep a night and avoid looking at your phone or tablet for at least half an hour before you go to bed.6
Handpicked content: Guide to sleeping better – 34 natural sleeping remedies
Protect them from the sun
It’s a known fact that overexposure to the sun can cause eyes to become dry.
Direct sunlight may also have long term effects on the health of your eyes and even lead to vision loss.
What’s more, the sun can easily burn the skin on your eyelids and below your eyes if they’re not protected.
To be safe, always wear sunglasses with a high UV rating on sunny days.7
Use an eye cream
Having puffy skin or dark rings around your eyes can make you look more tired.
To avoid this, it’s worth incorporating an eye cream or serum made from beneficial ingredients into your beauty routine.
These sorts of eye care products are designed to soothe puffiness, target any discolouration on the skin and smooth out the appearance fine lines caused by ageing.
Handpicked content: What does eye cream do?
And what should I avoid?
There are a handful of things that can, unfortunately, have a bad effect on the appearance of your eyes.
Firstly, avoid spending long periods of time in places where the air is dry. This includes areas such as air-conditioned or heated rooms, planes (where the air is constantly filtered) or near open fires which are particularly smokey.8
Habits such as smoking or excessive drinking can also have negative impacts as they’re thought to be linked to age related macular degeneration.
This is when the middle part of your eye degrades slowly over time, eventually causing vision loss or blindness.9
As well as following all the tips below, it’s a good idea to regularly schedule in eye tests as it’s possible that your tired, red eyes could be down to something like an infection or simply be a sign that you need glasses.
When you should visit a doctor
If you have red eyes, the good news is that it’s not usually serious.
However, if you experience any of the following, we recommend talking to your GP:
- Loss of vision
- A recent head and/or eye injury
- Eye surgery in the last 12 months
- Chronic pain
- Yellow or green crust or mucus around the eyes
Last updated: 8 September 2021