I was once told by my optician that my eyes are “as dry as the Sahara Desert”. So you can definitely say that eye’ve got a problem (sorry not sorry).
Honestly, a couple of years ago I was wincing in pain every single time I put my contacts in. Like, actual curling-up-into-a-ball pain.
This is almost certainly down to my lifestyle. I wear contact lenses most days (though only usually for about 10 hours). I wear makeup every day – not always eye makeup, but always foundation and concealer, which probably gets into my eyes when I apply it, and when I rub my eyes during the day. And, the big one, I am a heeeeavy screen user. I’m constantly on my laptop, phone or another device from before I get out of bed until I fall asleep, gaming, browsing, tweeting. And let’s not even talk about Netflix binges…
And honestly, these are non-negotiable parts of my life. I’m just plain not going to change those parts of my lifestyle.
I’m not the only one! Apparently Brits spend eight hours a day staring at screens. This gives rise to “Screen Eyes”. You blink up to 60% less when you’re staring at a screen, which leads to your eyes drying out. And only one in five people say they could actually give up their devices – personally I can’t believe that many people would be willing.
TV, social media and most office jobs need full-on screen-to-eye access, so chances are you’ve got some sort of Screen Eyes yourself – and this quiz here can even tell you what type! (Me? Selfie screen eyes all the way!)
Optrex contacted me to try out their ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray. Since it’s ended up making a huge difference, I figured I’d share some of the ideas I’ve tried to improve my eye condition – without compromising on my lifestyle.
(FYI this blog post contains a couple of affiliate links which means I may earn money if you click on them).
Switch to the Glasses
Even though I’m never giving up my contacts, I now absolutely never wear them lounging about the house watching Netflix. Taking out my contacts is part of my getting home routine – eject the work clothes, don the PJs, and take my contacts out. I also often take that time to remove my makeup, especially eye makeup.
But this wasn’t enough…
Try Out Different Contacts
I get my contacts from Specsavers, and I’m on their top range of contacts – Easyvision Linarial. I switched to daily lenses because it makes it super easy to just change into glasses if my eyes feel really dry without worrying how to save the contacts. Daily lenses also tend to be much thinner. I’ve also gone for their most expensive lenses, because they’re more breathable.
I tried out Waldo contact lenses for a bit, and while they felt a lot better on my eyes, they didn’t sit properly and kept getting stuck when I was applying eye makeup. But it’s important to keep trying different types of lenses until you find the ones that work for you.
The next thing I tried was installing a programme on my PC to help me remember that the screen wasn’t my eyes’ bestie. The goal was to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, close your eyes for 20 seconds, then blink 20 times. The solution I found was EyeLeo, a free PC programme you can download.
After you install it, a popup appears every 10 minutes with an exercise for your eyes to do. And every hour a notification pops up prompting you to take a longer break from your PC. The pop ups are very noticeable and effective at getting you to break away from your task.
But I’ll be honest. I stuck with it for a few weeks before starting to ignore it. I kept it on my PC for a few more months, but it was mostly an annoyance when it popped up and I eventually uninstalled it. It might work for you though, so that’s why I’ve included it.
I use eye drops constantly. When I’m putting in my contact lenses (before and after); when I’m at work staring at a screen; when I watch TV. Whenever my eyes feel irritated in the least. I have a bottle in every bag I own, a bottle on my bedside table, a bottle on my dressing table, and a bottle at work. Eye drops 4eva.
My optician (the same one that compared my eyes to a desert) recommend that I try HycoSan Extra, and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s pretty hardcore, for eye drops, and FYI the price is higher to match. You can get it in pharmacies, Specsavers and on Amazon.
Until Optrex got in touch, I’d never even heard of eye spray before. As far as I knew, drops were the only option.
Eye mist is a little peculiar to start with. You spray it on your closed eye, and the mist “stabilises your eye’s lipid layer”. Which, in layman’s terms, means that it helps coat your eye with the oil it needs to prevent all the moisture evaporating. It doesn’t provide instant relief, in the same way that eye drops do.
But after a few weeks of using it, I’ve definitely noticed a huge difference. My eyes felt a lot better on a daily basis.
At first I stopped using eye drops while testing out the eye spray, but I can definitely say that using the two in conjunction – using the spray three times a day to maintain my eye’s health, and using the eye drops when I need a quick fix – is the best plan. I’ve also found that I’m using my eye drops much less frequently.
I’ve got the “dry+irritated eyes” version, and you can get it from Boots, Superdrug and Amazon, etc.
What I Recommend
If you’re not doing anything to take care of your eyes… start! Don’t let them get to my horrific condition.
And this advice isn’t just for glasses/contacts wearers. Luckily I had an optician to tell me what I should have already known – that my eyes are a disaster zone. Many people who have 20-20 vision have Screen Eyes but may never know it.
I view getting a deep conditioning treatment at the hairdressers as part the deal with having bleached hair. And now I view using moisturising eye products the same way. It’s just part of the deal with using screens a lot. But most people have never tried anything to improve their eye condition – not even the free steps like looking away from their PC more often.
So try out a free PC programme or app. Go for eye drops or go the whole hog with an eye spray too. Or even if try to change your lifestyle so that screens are less a part of it. Whatever you do, it’s important to remember your eyes.
Disclaimer: I received the Optrex ActiMist product free for review, but my views are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive money if you make a purchase through them. You can see my full disclaimer here.