Bright ideas to make your eyes sparkle…A massager for puffiness

Bright ideas that might make your eyes sparkle…A massager for puffiness, eye wash to ease hay fever itches — and a pill to soothe damage from hours on a screen

Hay fever, excess screen time, even some medications can affect our eye health.  Here, Elizabeth Hawkes, a consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon at the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust and the Cadogan Clinic in London, assesses a range of eye health products. We then rated them. 

A massager for puffiness, eye wash to ease hay fever itches — and a pill to soothe damage from hours on a screen


Vizulize Hypromellose 0.3 per cent Eye Drops, 10ml, £1.35,

Vizulize Hypromellose 0.3 per cent Eye Drops, 10ml, £1.35,

CLAIM: The maker says these drops will lubricate the eye in the same way as natural tears, to ease dryness and grittiness. They can be used while wearing contact lenses.

EXPERT VERDICT: Dry eye disease is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears, or tears evaporate too quickly. It results in dry, sore or gritty eyes and can be caused by using a computer screen for a long time, windy weather, or certain medications or illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.

Hypromellose, as found in this product, is a lubricant that forms a layer on the eye to stop water loss and increase the thickness of the tear film. This has been shown to prevent dryness.

These drops are free from preservatives, which can trigger eye irritation and discomfort in some people — and it is useful they can be used with contact lenses (not all drops can), which can also cause dryness. 9/10

Lagad Lacrima, 60 capsules, £13.50,

Lagad Lacrima, 60 capsules, £13.50,

CLAIM: These contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids — from oily fish and flax seeds — which, the maker says, can help relieve dry eyes. Take two a day and see a benefit in one to three months.

EXPERT VERDICT: Omega-3 oils have been found in some studies to improve the quality of the protective oily substance in tears, which stops the eyes drying out. However, a review by the respected Cochrane group found that, although there was some benefit for dry eye disease, this was neither consistent nor significant.

Also, while the level of omega-3 in this product seems reasonable, there is no consensus on the optimum amount needed — and it is unclear whether enough would reach the eye’s surface where it would, in theory, be beneficial.

These capsules wouldn’t give as good results as eye drops because they’re not working directly on the surface of the eye. They may be worth trying — but only alongside drops. 5/10

Opticrom Hay Fever 2 per cent Eye Drops, 10ml, £5.29,


Opticrom Hay Fever 2 per cent Eye Drops, 10ml, £5.29,

CLAIM: Made with sodium cromoglicate, these drops promise relief in two minutes from redness and itchiness caused by allergies such as hay fever.

EXPERT VERDICT: Itchy, red, swollen and watery eyes are a classic symptom of hay fever. Sodium cromoglicate prevents the mast cells (responsible for inflammation and allergic responses) from releasing histamine, the chemical produced during an allergic reaction which is responsible for most of the troublesome symptoms.

Despite the product’s promise of relief in two minutes, it usually takes a few days to work.

It also contains benzalkonium chloride, a preservative. If you have sensitive eyes, look for preservative-free drops instead. 5/10

Optase Tea Tree Oil Eyelid Cleansing Gel, 50ml, £14.78,

Red and swollen

Optase Tea Tree Oil Eyelid Cleansing Gel, 50ml, £14.78,

CLAIM: This eyelid wash contains hyaluronic acid (to add moisture) and tea tree oil, which the maker says is clinically proven to repel microscopic mites that live in your eyelashes and can trigger eye problems, such as blepharitis (redness and swelling). Massage into eyelids and wash off with water, once or twice a day.

EXPERT VERDICT: It’s a good idea for everyone with eye conditions or sensitivity to use a specialist cleanser on their eyes, rather than their usual one, to avoid irritation.

One of the triggers for severe blepharitis is an overgrowth of demodex — tiny parasites that live on eyelashes and don’t usually cause harm.

There is good evidence that tea tree oil — which has antimicrobial properties — can reduce their number and improve symptoms such as redness and crusting around the eyes.

The hyaluronic acid here is also very helpful for anyone with dry eyes, as it forms an artificial layer over the eye to help repair the tear film that is damaged in dry eye conditions. 9/10

Screen damage 

 Gummy Science Digital Eye Support, 60 gummies, £17.45,

CLAIM: These chewable, berry-flavoured supplements contain the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which the maker says the eyes need to filter out the blue light emitted by digital devices. This light is absorbed by the retina and there are concerns it could damage the light receptors there.

EXPERT VERDICT: Lutein and zeaxanthin — found naturally in brightly coloured fruit and leafy green vegetables — are important for a healthy macula (the ‘seeing’, central part of the retina).

However, there is only evidence that people with age-related macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness in the UK — could benefit, as these nutrients help to slow down the condition’s progression.

Exposure to blue light from electronic devices is not considered to be a major risk for macular degeneration — or any other serious eye condition.

There is therefore minimal, if any, evidence to support the use of supplements to protect against blue light ‘damage’. 1/10

The Eyecicle Eye Massager, £150,


The Eyecicle Eye Massager, £150,

CLAIM: This glass massage wand has a ball at the end, which you roll around the eye area after chilling it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The maker says the combination of cooling and massage boosts circulation and reduces puffiness and eye bags.

EXPERT VERDICT: There can be several reasons for eyelid swelling or puffiness, ranging from medical problems, such as a stye or an allergy or infection, to simply having had a late night.

For this reason, I would urge people to see a doctor if they develop puffy eyes, to rule out more serious causes, before using a product like this.

In theory, applying anything cold to the area will cause constriction of blood vessels and therefore reduce inflammation.

So a cooling eye mask or even applying two chilled spoons would do the same job. 4/10

Xailin Wash, 20 x 5ml vials, £9.45,

Irritant in the eye

Xailin Wash, 20 x 5ml vials, £9.45,

CLAIM: This preservative-free solution contains sodium chloride and boric acid. It is recommended by the maker for washing out foreign bodies that irritate the eye, such as sand, midges, dust, pollen and make-up, to ease the discomfort.

The maker recommends using two to eight vials a day.

EXPERT VERDICT: Sodium chloride is just salt water, which is always the first-line response for flushing out eyes in the case of any injury or irritant.

It is better than water alone, as it is sterile, but it’s generally safer to use a commercially produced sterile product which has the correct ratio of salt to water.

The boric acid here also has antiseptic properties.

Eye washes can be useful for clearing out irritants such as dust or pollen. But this is more of an occasional-use product and handy to keep in a first aid kit at home.

For daily allergy relief, eye drops tend to be far more effective because they contain ingredients to stop an allergic reaction and to lubricate the eye to stop further irritation. 6/10 

And if you struggle with drops…

Opticare Eye Drop Dispenser, £9.50,

Opticare Eye Drop Dispenser, £9.50,

CLAIM: This helps you aim eye drops into the eye. Simply secure a bottle of drops inside this cylinder, turn it upside down and place over one eye. The tip is designed to ensure a single drop will go directly into the eye when you squeeze the side of it.

EXPERT VERDICT: ‘It’s common for patients with joint problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, to struggle to use eye drops, as their grip strength is weakened, making it almost impossible to squeeze a small bottle,’ says Elizabeth Hawkes, a consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon at the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust and the Cadogan Clinic in London. ‘Patients will often resort to asking a relative to apply the eye drops for them, which isn’t easy.

‘This gadget is useful as it allows patients to administer their own eye drops at their own pace. Patients with sight problems or conditions that cause shaking, such as Parkinson’s, could also benefit.’ 7/10


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