Graying or yellowing of the sclera can also affect the brightness of your eyes, but natural aging can account for any dullness (which sadly can’t be helped), and yellowing is a sign of more serious organ infection and damage (in which case, you should seek out medical advice first). Behavioral changes like taking breaks from your computer screen,eating a balanced diet, and getting enough rest and water will improve your overall eye health in the long term, but eye doctors say that for every day, there are some quick fixes that can help you get rid of red eyes, too. Here, the supplements, eye drops, and compresses that they suggest.
A standard “get the red out” eye-drop product like Visine and Clear Eyes might be your knee-jerk impulse if your eyes are bloodshot, but all of the eye experts consulted here said to steer clear of them, especially for regular use. While these can temporarily constrict the blood vessels (and make your eyes appear less red), Winokur says that over time your eyes will get used to that constricting sensation. “When you stop using them, you get what we call ‘rebound redness,’ where your blood vessels get really, really big when you stop using them. It’s a bad cycle.”
Our doctors are optimistic about a new eye drop called Lumify, based on a glaucoma medicine, which is designed to help get rid of redness. It’s the first over-the-counter eye drop that’s been developed with low-dose brimonidine tartrate, which reduces eye redness by selectively constricting blood vessels in the eye. Patients have been reporting great results with it so far.
Our doctors also tell people to take artificial drops if the eyes are more dry. While your actual tears are a lot more complicated than the synthetic stuff — containing things like oil, hormones, growth factors, mucin, etc. — he says there are a lot of manufacturers that are trying to mimic certain parts of the tear film, like Systane Balance or Refresh Tears. The fine print here, too, is that you don’t want to be using this long-term: Prolonged use of artificial tears may only perpetuate the very issue you are trying to solve.
If your eyes are puffy and need added soothing, a cool compress or towel feels nice, too. Even if you take your artificial tears and put them in the fridge, and drop them in cold, it mimics a cold compress and your eyes are going to feel a lot better.
Supplements can help make up deficiencies in certain nutrients — including A, C, and E — which can minimally improve the health of the sclera (and therefore the color), too, if they’re supplementing a balanced diet. Here’s a multivitamin specifically targeted to eye health, including zinc, copper, and vitamins C and E.
Some doctors prefer to recommend Omega vitamins like flaxseed oil to patients. There ’more evidence that supplementing your diet with it can improve the quality of oils that go into the tear film (which may be somewhat beneficial for reducing eye dryness, too).
For the very dry-eyed person in winter, even a humidifier can be helpful for reducing redness. We’ve talked about our love of humidifiers before, and here’s one of our most stood-behind models.