Blink And You’ll Feel Better

Yes, at last its spring again. The new season fashion collections are strong on bright citrus, clashing colours and while pink might feature prominently on the catwalk it is not a shade we want to see in our eyes!

My friend, Cheri, has what she calls “touchy” eyes, which is not to say that they look at you with the adoration of a loyal bloodhound longing for a cuddle, more that they seem to flare up at the slightest provocation. It’s as if they cannot cope with wind or cold and are even less happy with certain cosmetics, the spring sunshine and pollen.

We were recently enjoying a shopping browse together (as it happens in the picturesque setting of “La plaza de los Naranjos” in Marbella old town in southern Spain) when she suddenly ran out of a shop.

Was it something that I had said? Her bottom certainly wouldn’t have looked big in the outfit she had selected, so what was the problem?

“It’s the fly spray”, she explained frantically reaching in her handbag for eye drops, “my eyes are allergic to the spray they have used in there”.

With an ongoing interest in all things ophthalmological I asked to be kept posted on any future developments.

Remember to blink often when working at the computer

A few days later and her eyes had not improved. Despite throwing away a brand new mascara, reducing wheat in her diet and announcing that she was allergic to dust and therefore exempt from any spring cleaning duties, the situation had worsened. Her eyes were still sore, itchy and – in her words – would look more at home on an albino rabbit. Not only were they an unattractive shade of pink, but the surrounding skin felt tight and sore.

To cut a long story short, it transpired that Cheri (who was spending hours on her computer putting the finishing touches to her second novel at the time) eventually found the solution to her condition which is officially known as “dry eye”.

She followed the simple and straightforward advice of her ophthalmologist: to blink more frequently.

It seems that such episodes are on the rise due to … yes, you’ve guessed it, spending too long staring at a computer screen.  While we are concentrating on our work many of us simply forget to blink as often as we need.

Leading eye doctors now recommend that those of us who work on computers for long periods of time should take frequent breaks and consciously blink more often.

The general advice is to walk round for a few minutes every hour and that sipping water will help to keep everything lubricated – including our eyes. Warm compresses like a flannel soaked in hot water and then wrung out; or the delicious eyes bags heated in the microwave and recommended by the London Vision Clinic also help.

Spanish eye doctors swear by the benefits of camomile tea bags – just dunk them in hot water and then pop one on each eye for a few minutes before getting back to work – it gives a whole new meaning to taking a tea break!