As the social scene ramps up, our eyes can suffer the consequences of hectic lifestyles. Is there anything we can do to help?
Dr Nisa Aslam
Let’s face it, parties can be fabulously fun and social boosts to our wellbeing, but our health can suffer. Burning the candle at both ends, wearing more eye make-up than usual and a lowered immune function can all be detrimental to eyes. Common complaints include conjunctivitis (red eye), styes and blepharitis (infection of the eyelash follicles or eyelids) and these can be both painful and unsightly.
GP Dr Nisa Aslam, advisor to Golden Eye® tells us: “Any superficial eye infection should be treated immediately. Eye infections can become serious so it’s important to nip them in the bud.” She explains why eye health is so important: “Eyes often get taken for granted. While eyes are tough, modern environments including dust, pollution and smog can cause eye irritation resulting in the eyes being rubbed and scratched. Rubbing the eyes with unclean hands is a key source of eye infection.
These infections are very contagious and can easily be caught from another person.”
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing an infection, but the good news is that there are several things we can do to help. Here Dr Nisa from Golden Eye® shares her top five tips for boosting eye health throughout the festive celebrations…
Avoid touching your eyes
Keep your hands as clean as possible and try to avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes, as this can lead to an eye infection.
Leaving make-up on overnight can increase the risk of developing an eye infection. Also avoid sharing things like towels, flannels, or eye make-up, as this could pass on an infection.
Make sleep a priority
Maximise the amount of shut-eye you get to help maintain a healthy immune system. Practice good sleep hygiene and switch off all devices at least an hour before bed to reduce the effect of the blue light from the screen on your melatonin levels.
Ask your pharmacist for self-care eye solutions
Treat the symptoms of any minor eye infection with an over-the-counter pharmacy product. Golden Eye® Eye Drops (propamidine isethionate) and Golden Eye® Eye Ointment (dibrompropamidine isethionate) tick all the boxes, as they help to stop bacteria growing and multiplying. Golden Eye® Eye Drops and Golden Eye® Eye Ointment are for conjunctivitis (red eye), styes and blepharitis (infection of the lid margins and eye follicles), while Golden Eye® Eye Ointment is also for styes. Both products contain antiseptics (not antibiotics). Always read the label.
Know when to call an emergency number or visit A&E for eye pain
If pain is unusually severe or accompanied by a headache, fever, unusual sensitivity to light or your vision changes suddenly, or you also experience nausea and vomiting, call or visit an emergency service immediately.
Feeling exhausted in the run-up to Christmas? That can mean bad news for your eyes, as Dr Nisa Aslam points out: “Tiredness can make us bleary-eyed by encouraging us to rub away the sleep. On top of this, with a stressful 18 months or so behind us because of the pandemic, we may not be sleeping as well as we might. Stress has also been shown to lower the immune system, so when it comes to styes, it delivers a double-whammy of risk factors for infection.” While some stress in life is unavoidable, an ongoing heightened state of alert has been shown to be detrimental to our immune response. Making time to switch off by walking, reading, or meditating might make all the difference to your overall wellbeing.
Prevention is better than cure so along with getting enough rest, focus on getting key nutrients from your diet to make sure you are doing all you can to support your immune system. Dr Nisa Aslam urges us not to neglect the basics. She says: “Ensuring good hand hygiene is another important step to reduce your risk of styes. Similarly, make-up can be a hotbed of bacteria, so it’s worth ensuring you replace your old cosmetics every three to six months – especially products that are used around the eyes. Regular washing of make-up brushes and bags is a good habit to get into too.”