woman with bright eyes

How to brighten your eyes

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.

How to brighten eyes:

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

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.

And what should I avoid?

There are a handful of things which 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.

Last updated: 8 June 2020

Sources
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/sparkling-eyes#try-cucumbers
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section2
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/retinal-diseases/symptoms-causes/syc-20355825
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/look-after-your-eyes/
  5. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/
ConditionsEye Health