Bright, sparkling eyes can communicate a lot about a person. When your iris (the colored part of your eye) is in high contrast with the white part of your eye (the sclera), your eyes tend to have more sparkle and often convey a sense of excitement, vitality, and health.
Keep in mind, though, that practically every photograph you see on a magazine cover or in print and online ads has been retouched to make the eyes look whiter, brighter, and more alluring. Even some celebrity social media photos have been edited to add some sparkle.
Without high-end photo editing tools, your eyes won’t be able to compete on the same sparkle spectrum as your favorite celebrity or cover model. But, as long as you have realistic expectations, there are simple steps you can take to boost the health and sparkle of your eyes.
If your eyes are red, dry, scratchy, or irritated, they’re less likely to have a natural sparkle. That’s why taking good care of your eyes is essential if you want to keep them looking bright and healthy.
It’s not just the inside of your eyes that matter. The skin around your eyes is important, too. If you have dark circles under your eyes or puffy, swollen skin, your eyes will likely look tired, smaller, and less healthy.
Here are 13 easy, no-fuss ways to help keep your eyes looking as bright and healthy as possible.
Air at high altitudes, in desert climates, and in airplanes can be especially dry. Wind and smoke can also dry out your eyes, as can hair dryers and car heaters that blow directly into your eyes.
When your eyes don’t have enough moisture, they can become irritated, scratchy, and red.
Avoid dry air if you can, and carry eye drops to help hydrate your eyes when you know you’ll be in a dry place.
If your eyes are puffy, swollen, or irritated, placing green tea bags on your eyelids may help reduce swelling and ease discomfort.
The best way to use green tea on your eyes is to first steep the tea bags in some water. Then, let the tea bags cool completely — or even better, put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Once the tea bags are cool, lie down, close your eyes, and place them on your eyelids for 10 minutes.
To use rose water, apply a few drops to your eyes with an eyedropper. You can also dab your eyelids with a cotton ball soaked in rose water to reduce swelling or puffiness.
You can purchase rose water from health food stores, organic retailers, and online.
If you’re unsure if rose water is safe for you, talk to your eye doctor before using it.
Cucumber juice contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as vitamin C, which can soothe tired skin and eyes.
To use, cut two cucumber slices about a half-inch thick. Lie down, and apply a slice to each eyelid for 15 minutes to help refresh your eyes and skin.
A simple massage around your eyes can help improve lymph drainage and boost circulation. This can ease inflammation and also reduce the appearance of dark circles under your eyes.
To do an eye massage, follow these steps:
Use the fingertips of your index and middle fingers to gently tap in a circle around your eyes. This can help increase blood flow to the area.
Start along your eyebrows, then move your fingertips outward to the edge of your eyes, and down along the top of your cheekbones, moving inward toward the bridge of your nose.
Circle your eyes three times with your fingertips.
Then, using your middle fingers, press upward on either side of your nose, right below your brow bone.
Next, using your middle fingers, press inward toward your nose, next to your tear ducts.
Be careful not to pull or drag your skin while you’re moving your fingertips around your eye area.
Repeat this massage for 30 seconds or more to wake up the area around your eyes.
If you aren’t getting adequate sleep, sooner or later your eyes will likely show signs of fatigue and sleep deprivation. Aim to get to bed early enough to allow yourself to get a minimum of 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
To help you sleep well and to prevent eye problems, you may want to put your electronic devices away well before bedtime.
According to a review of literature published in 2018, exposure to artificial light, especially close to bedtime, can negatively affect your eye health and your natural sleep cycle.
If you want to avoid waking up with puffy eyes, try to sleep with your head slightly elevated. This may help prevent fluid from accumulating under your eyes.
Protecting your eyes from the sun can help prevent dry eyes, and it may also reduce your risk of sunburn on your eyelids or on the sensitive skin under your eyes.
To protect your eyes, consider wearing wraparound sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection when you’re exposed to direct sunlight. You can also add safety shields to the sides of eyeglasses to help block wind and dry air.
Staying hydrated is an important part of your overall health, but it’s particularly important for your eyes and skin.
Try to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to ensure your body has enough moisture to keep your eyes lubricated and hydrated. You may need to drink more water if the weather is warmer than usual and if you’re active.
If you’re doing work that requires visual concentration, like reading or looking at a computer screen, take eye breaks at least once every 20 minutes. Visually focusing on one area for too long can cause your eyes to become dry, tired, or irritated.
To give your eyes a break, try closing your eyes for a few minutes. Or blink quickly for a few seconds to help spread your eye’s natural tears evenly over the surface of your eyes.
As you age, your eyes become more prone to dry eye syndrome. Dry eyes can also be triggered by contact lens use, some medications like decongestants and antihistamines, and seasonal allergies.
If you find that your eyes tend to become dry and irritated fairly often, you may want to look into using over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops or artificial tears. Adding a few drops to your eyes can help keep your eyes hydrated.
You can buy OTC eye drops that contain humectants (substances that help retain moisture), lubricants, and electrolytes at your local pharmacy and online. If those don’t help, you can talk to your doctor or eye doctor about prescription eye drops.
Taking in too much salt (sodium) can cause your body to retain water. Water retention has an inflammatory effect, which could result in puffiness around your eyes.
Consuming too much salt can also increase your blood pressure. To prevent water retention and to keep your blood pressure under control, try to limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (2.3 grams) — the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of salt per day.
If your eyes feel puffy or swollen, try using a cold compress. Holding a washcloth that’s been soaked in cold water to your eyes for 10 minutes may help soothe them and ease inflammation.
Eyes that sparkle are often a sign of health and vitality. If your eyes look tired, red, irritated, or puffy, they’re likely not going to have much of a glimmer.
Fortunately, there are many home remedies you can try to boost the health of your eyes. When your eyes are healthy, nourished, and well-rested, they’re more likely to have a natural sparkle.