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Help your eyes survive Christmas

Christmas is when a lot of our patients tend to ‘get glammed up’ and try new skin care products which they may have been given in their Christmas stockings. They also change their routines, bedtime, food and drink. Both men and women use cosmetics e.g. face washes, scrubs and moisturisers and the skin around the eyes is some of the thinnest and most sensitive on the body.

A week or so later they start coming in with red sore eyes so here is how to avoid problems and keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. This should work for the rest of your body too!

Some products may have ingredients in them which are toxic for some people especially for contact lens wearers or those with dry eye (most over 60s)

Some of the most common eye irritants are listed in the small print on the back of bottles including:

  • Alcohol

  • Perfume (parfum)

  • Butylene glycol

  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde compounds

  • Isopropyl

  • Parabens

  • Phenoxyethanol

  • Benzalkonium chloride

  • Argireline,(lipotec)

  • Retinol

  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)

There a number of hypoallergenic eye products available and the formulas are hugely improved from 20 years ago. However, do watch out for rough grainy textures in glitter eyeshadow (for example) which can be very irritating if they get into the eye. Some mascaras are horribly flaky but the ‘tube’ mascaras that can be removed with warm water can be a good choice for sensitive eyes. Clinique, Simple and Almay are brands that have reliably hypoallergenic cosmetics. Ask for a sample of expensive products before buying as it can take a few days for an allergy to develop.

Contact lens wearers

Make up removers, moisturising hand wash and mascaras can alter contact lens shape and/or stick to lenses affecting oxygen permeability, lens shape and making big blurry patches on the lens surface. Daily lenses are a better choice if you wear a lot of makeup as it’s almost impossible to remove any cosmetic soiling from a lens surface.

Daily lenses are also a better choice for holidays (including Christmas) as the always fresh, clean lenses are kinder to the eyes. Most prescriptions are now available in daily form. Dailies tend to be thinner than regular lenses and obviously don’t need cleaning which can be a bit hit and miss on holiday. Exposure to Chlorine in swimming pools can build up on lenses and again dailies are better but our swimming goggles in your prescription are better still and surprisingly affordable at around £40.

Dry eye drops, saline ampoules and lipid sprays are all good holiday buys. Put single dose eye drops in your purse or wallet for dry party eyes and remember to drink water as that’s been shown to improve tear film whether you wear contacts or not.


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