1. TRY EYE THERAPY
“Heat actually helps the oil go through the glands,” says Iwach, which should help reduce irritation.
“It is these tear glands that when partially blocked (think: candle wax or toothpaste) increase inflammation on the surface of the eye and promote a redness response,” adds Kegarise. “It may take a few weeks, yet heat will effectively improve the appearance of the eyelids and eyes by minimizing the inflammation and hyperosmolarity (less water/increased salts and stuff) in the tear film that promotes a redness response in the body.”
Kegarise’s DIY heat therapy entails placing a warm hard-boiled egg, a potato in a warm water-soaked paper towel, or a microwaved rice bag (make sure it’s not too hot) on the surface of your closed eyelids. “Do this as hot as you can (without any burning of the lids!), as often as you can, for as long as you can. Ideally, even one time per day for 10 minutes is effective. Once completed, press inward (with clean fingers), on the eyelid, rolling the fingers toward the middle plane of the eye in an upward direction for the lower lids and a downward direction for the upper lids,” instructs Kegarise. However, if you’re not a fan of creating your own compress, you can also try to keep a couple of eye masks around. Spacemasks makes a Self-Heating Eye Mask ($24), which is one of our faves.
2. APPLY A COLD COMPRESS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TEMPERATURE SPECTRUM .
Iwach says applying cold temperatures to your eyes can help reduce inflammation and redness and make your eyeballs feel better. This can be a cool washcloth (just ensure that it’s soft and clean to reduce/prevent irritation) or even cucumber slices. Simply place your cucumber slices in the fridge beforehand for maximum cooling relief.
3. DETOX (DIGITALLY)
When you don’t blink enough, your eyes aren’t properly lubricated, which can cause redness: “We live in a digital world and when we do close work on a computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone, we tend to stare and this decreases the blink rate. It also tends to cause a cramping-like fatigue in the focusing and converging muscles of the eye,” says Kegarise. If you spend a lot of time on your phone or computer, try taking “blink breaks” every few minutes to keep the moisture balance of your eyes intact.
Kegarise explains how the simple, yet effective “20/20 blink rule” will help you work longer and more comfortably, as well as minimize a common cause of redness in the eyes. “When on the computer, every 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds at a distance target and squeeze-blink your eyes firmly two times. Firm blinking also forces tear glands to release the oily output as a contribution to the tears. This oily layer reduces dry eye by keeping the tears in contact with the eye and not allowing them to evaporate. Dry eyes naturally force a body response to increase permeability of the blood vessels and, thus, redness.”
4.TAKING BREAKS FROM WEARING MAKEUP UNFORTUNATELY: according to Iwach, your makeup could be causing your red eyes. And he doesn’t just mean makeup like eyeliner and mascara. Even your face powder could be a culprit. Try weaning yourself off different products one at a time for several days and take note of the state of your eyes to pinpoint what’s bothering you.
5.CLEAN YOUR LIDS AND LASHES
Be sure to clean the base of your lashes, as this may be where irritants congregate because there are oil glands along the margins of your eyes. Sometimes this oil accumulates, which attracts irritants: “Ultimately, cleaning the lids regularly will minimize the base of the eyelash buildup of oils, flakes, follicle mites (yuck)-all of which can get onto the surface of the eyes and cause redness,” says Kegarise. “Once you have successfully noticed an improvement in feeling or decreased redness, you can reduce to a maintenance level of two times per week or whatever seems to be appropriate for your individual eyes.”
To get started, “Wash and scrub your eyelids with warm water and a washcloth every morning,” he says. “Take a clean, warm washcloth, close your eyes, and rub vigorously on the upper and lower eyelid margins and base of the eyelashes for 20 seconds. Baby shampoo or other ‘non-tear, gentle’ liquid soap can be added. Rinse with warm water. You may feel less scratchiness right away, and/or it may take some time to feel a less gritty sensation.”