How do you get the “red” out? Here’s how to do it naturally.

May 11, 2015

blood shot eyesWaking up to red, puffy eyes can be a discouraging way to begin the day, and may leave you searching for ways to reduce the appearance of bloodshot eyes. And while there are plenty of over the counter eye drops and even whitening eye drops (they actually aggravate the problem over time) on the market, you may be interested in some natural alternatives. Because whether or not you believe in the natural approach, treating red eyes with drops that may contain beta blockers or Chloramphenicol might seem a bit overzealous. Or, maybe you simply relish the idea of using what you have on hand in your garden and home.

What causes “red eye”? Unfortunately, the answer is: everything, that’s a slight exaggeration, but the eyes and their surrounding skin are extremely sensitive, and even common occurrences can take a toll on their appearance.

While there are a few more serious eye conditions, like conjunctivitis (pink eye), uveitis and glaucoma, and corneal ulcers, that result in redness (so, it is important to see an eye doctor if your redness persists or comes with impaired vision), many cases of red or bloodshot eyes are down to daily activity. Staying up all night crying or smoking will get you a solid case of red eye, but so will working at a computer for eight hours. In fact, digital eye strain has become a huge affliction, according to The Vision Council, which states that 70 percent of North American adults experience digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.

When it comes to other specific causes, essentially anything that creates dryness beyond what your tears can properly lubricate, like smoking, being in arid environments (whether they’re a desert or a dry office), or becoming dehydrated, can lead to redness. Which means that consuming a bunch of caffeine without adequate water will leave your eyes looking rosy, too. But dryness isn’t the only cause — putting pressure on your eyes or introducing them to irritants can also cause your eyelids to swell or the blood vessels on the surface of your eye to expand, and simple things like sleeping face down, forgetting to remove your eye makeup or applying it carelessly, and swimming in chlorinated water without goggles can agitate your eyes. Even eating a lot of salty food can make a difference.

With a little extra time and tenderness, most bloodshot eyes can be eliminated. Use these simple tips and remedies on days when your eyes need extra care, and you’re likely to feel both energized and uplifted. Taking the time for self-care is a vital, often lacking practice in our busy, work oriented society.

  1. Spoon Those Eyes

Since reducing temperature has the effect of constricting blood vessels, which leads to decreased redness, swelling, and irritation, this simple method is a great option when you need to relax your eyes, but don’t want to much fuss. Take four metal teaspoons and place them in ice water. Once they’re cooled (not frozen), place two of the spoons, with the concave side toward your skin, following your eye socket’s natural contour. Lay back, and relax. When the first set of spoons becomes warm from your body heat, replace it with the second set that’s been chilling. Continue alternating spoons for up to 20 minutes.

  1. Eye Rinse

Make sure that your utensils and containers are sanitized before you begin.

•1 cup distilled water
•1 tablespoon of eyebright, chamomile flowers, or crushed fennel seeds

Prep Time: approximately 45 minutes

Blending Tools: strainer; shake before each use

Store In: sterilized plastic or glass bottle or spritzer

Yield: approximately 1 cup

Bring the water to a boil and remove it from heat. If you’re using fennel seeds, crush them using a mortar and pestle. Add one of the herbs listed above to the boiled water, cover the pot, and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid twice through a nylon stocking, coffee filter, or very fine cloth.

Pour the strained liquid into a sterilized container. You can refrigerate this rinse for up to seven days.

Application: Splash the rinse into open eyes, or mist into open eyes. You may also use an eye cup.

  1. Tea Bags

The relaxing effect of reclining with cool, damp tea bags over your eyes is no secret. And while this trick has been around for quite some time, it’s with good reason. Many green, black, and many herbal teas provide a variety of benefits, including the reduction of inflammation and redness. A few top contenders specifically worth applying to your eyes are green, black, catnip, rose petal, chamomile flowers, elder flowers, eye bright, fennel seeds, lavender buds, and blackberry leaves.

  1. Remove Your Makeup And Lenses

Not only does leaving your makeup on cause premature aging for your skin, but doing so could also result in clogged tear ducts, which mean the potential for a stye, or simply not enough lubrication to keep your eyes clear and vibrant. Leaving your contact lenses in can be even more damaging, as they have a tendency to deposit microbes and other particulate on the surface of your eye. The last thing you want is to develop a fungal infection from leaving your lenses in too long.

  1. Walk Away From the Screen

If you get up and walk away from your screen, allowing your eyes to focus on things at varying distances and of various sizes, your eyes (and your body) will thank you.

  1. Cool Eye Mask

•2 teaspoons cucumber or raw potato, peeled, seeded, and finely grated
•1 teaspoon powdered milk

Use: once or twice a week

Prep Time: approximately 35 minutes

Blending Tools: grater, mortar and pestle

Store In: do not store; mix as needed

Yield: one treatment

Using your mortar and pestle, combine ingredients into a smooth, thick paste and chill for 30 minutes. Add a few drops of water if mixture is too thick.

Application: Lie down, close your eyes, and finger paint your entire eye area, including your eyelids. Rest and relax for 10 minutes, then rinse your face with cool water.

  1. Get Some Sleep

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, many North Americans are sleep deprived, and 35.3 percent are getting less than seven hours of sleep per day. Compromising your sleep means your heart is not working at optimum levels, nor are your thyroids or kidneys. These organs need adequate time to recharge, and skipping on sleep robs them of it. So, if you want to keep your eyes (and other organs) healthy, clear, and free of bags or dark circles, it’s imperative that you sleep well.