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Get rid of eye redness and puffiness

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Tips to be bright-eyed

You expect to wake up with swollen, red eyes after a night out with the girls or a particularly heart-wrenching evening with lots of tears. But if you're waking up every day with red, itchy, puffy eyes, see an eye doctor to rule out allergies or eye conditions, such as dry eye. Dr Alison Tendler, a board-certified ophthalmologist at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who specializes in ocular allergy, dry eye and lid margin disease, shares five eye-opening tips for optimal ocular health and getting rid of red, puffy eyes.

Woman with Beautiful Eyes

1. Get routine eye exams

Many conditions can steal eyesight slowly. Your eye doctor can diagnose, monitor and treat certain conditions before serious damage occurs if you're diligent about routine appointments. He may check to see if you need glasses and screen for glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic changes in the eye. See your eye doctor every one to two years prior to the age of 50, then every year thereafter.

2. Wear sunglasses or a hat

These items protect your eye (the eyelid skin and the eye itself) from potentially harmful effects of the sun. They protect the eyelid skin from aging-related changes such as crow's feet, baggy eyelids and age spots, as well as decrease the risk of eyelid skin cancer. Sun can also increase your chances of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. So, be fashionable and know you are doing something good for your eyes at the same time!

(Sunglasses: Fashionable eye and skin protection)

3. Control systemic health conditions

Uncontrolled health conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can have a negative effect on the health of your eyes. Work with your primary care physician to keep these health conditions under control, and see your eye doctor for yearly screening exams.

4. get proper nutrition

Eating foods high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can keep your entire body healthy, and that includes your eyes. These nutrients can improve or delay progression of conditions such as dry eyes, macular degeneration, and possibly cataracts.

(Improve your eyesight with omega-3s and antioxidants)

5. Nurture healthy tears

Millions of people suffer from undiagnosed dry eye syndrome due to decreased quantity of tears and decreased quality of the eye's tear layer. The tear layer of the eye is important in maintaining proper health and functioning of the entire surface of the eye. It protects the eye from insults such as infection and inflammation and is a very important factor in seeing clearly and crisply.

(Dry eye syndrome: Tips to get rid of dry eye)

What causes puffy, red eyes?

Puffy, red eyes can make you look tired or as if you've been crying, and cosmetics can make things worse. The first step in getting rid of swelling and redness is to determine the cause.

According to Dr Tendler, the primary causes of red eyes are usually related to dryness or allergies, which create inflammation and subsequent redness. If you experience itching and puffiness, allergies are more likely the culprit. "Allergies are typically seasonal and aggravated in the spring and fall, but can be year-round. Add a condition such as dry eyes to this, and you have a double whammy!" says the eye specialist.

Tips for beautiful, radiant eyes

1. Try artificial tears. Treat the ocular surface by using over-the-counter lubricants like artificial tears (i.e., Optive, Refresh) and possibly nighttime ointments or gels.

2. Decrease inflammation. If you continue to experience symptoms, you may need more control of the ocular inflammation. Restasis and similar products can help increase tear production and decrease inflammation that leads to redness and chronic dry eye.

3. Control your environment. Keep fans, air conditioner vents and wind from blowing directly in your eyes. They increase evaporation of the tear film and dry the surface out.

4. Take a contact lens holiday. First of all, make sure you are practicing proper contact lens wear. If you are, talk to your eye specialist about temporarily discontinuing use of contacts. Contact lenses can exacerbate dry eye symptoms and redness.

5. See your doctor. An eye care professional can help you determine the proper course of treatment for your puffy, red or dry eyes.

You don't have to live with puffy, red eyes. Try these tips and consult with an eye doctor to determine the cause of your irritated eyes as well as a treatment plan that will keep your eyes bright and beautiful.

More on vision and eye health

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