There are plenty of reasons why your eyes can get dry and irritated, including (but not limited to) lack of sleep, indoor heat, cigarette smoke, allergies, staring at a computer/TV/BlackBerry screen for a prolonged period of time, and dehydration. Luckily, there are just as many great treatments and ways to prevent dryness so you can always have that sparkle in your eyes.
Eat Like a Nutritionist
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds) protects against dry eye. It's also important to eat lots of leafy greens and vitamin C fruits as well as foods rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, like eggs and carrots, says Dr. Robert Mirsky, an ophthalmologist in New Jersey.
Choose the Right Eye Cream
Since the skin around the eyes is especially thin and sensitive, you'll want to try an eye cream that contains calming, hydrating ingredients like chamomile, elderflower, oat extract, and green tea. Try Clinique All About Eyes Rich, $28.50.
Keep Your Eyes Moist
Redness-reducing eyedrops are fine on occasion, but if you're using them frequently for dry eyes, switch to preservative-free artificial tears, says Dr. Mirsky. He recommends Refresh, Systane, or TheraTears.
Drink More Water (and Less Caffeine)
It's always a good idea to up your water intake, especially if your eyes are feeling Sahara-like. And while you're at it, keep your caffeine consumption under 300 milligrams per day (one cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams), says registered dietician Lisa Drayer, author of The Beauty Diet, since the mild diuretic effect of caffeine can leave you dehydrated.
Always Remove Your Eye Makeup
Once in awhile we all crash without washing our faces, but its really important to at least take off your eye makeup. "This is the easiest way to prevent eye irritation," says Dr. Mirsky. If you're really tired, keep unscented baby wipes next to your bed so you can swipe off your mascara and liner while literally lying down.
Sounds easy, right? However, thanks to computer screens and all our handheld electronics, we're all blinking less. "Blinking naturally lubricates the eye," says Dr Mirsky. Put a Post-it note on your computer to blink more and be sure to close your eyes tight for a few seconds. It's also a good idea to take a break from your digital devices every 20 minutes or so. Look out the window or somewhere far away to refresh your eyes.
Fake It with Makeup
Rim your lower lashes with a nude pencil, then apply a champagne shimmer shadow to the center of your lids and the inner corners of your eyes, says NYC makeup artist Dara Klein. Also, use a navy mascara, which will make the whites of your eyes appear brighter. Try BeneFit BADgal Blue, $19.