Natural eye care: it's easy

Sore, bloodshot eyes? Try the natural way to soothe those peepers

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Your eyes are delicate mechanisms and should be treated with respect, writes Alan Hayes.

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EYES are the focal point of your face, and clear, sparkling eyes highlight the glow of a healthy complexion.

These delicate mechanisms should be treated with respect and any trouble should be referred immediately to an ophthalmic optician.

Sleep and relaxation help to keep eyes looking clear and bright, as does a good mixed healthy diet. If you lack sleep or have been overindulging in alcohol, too-rich foods or tobacco, the appearance of your eyes will suffer.

To avoid tired, strained and bloodshot eyes:

MAKE sure you take plenty of vitamin A (found in carrots and apricots).

BILBERRY, available from your health food store as a supplement, will help to strengthen the eyes.

SLEEP for eight hours a night as often as possible.

REFRAIN from watching too much television.

DON'T read or use your eyes for close work in inadequate light.

REFRESH your eyes with a herbal eye bath if they have been exposed to a smoky atmosphere, salt water, excessive wind and sun.

BATHE eyes with a soothing and healing herbal wash at the end of each day if you spend long hours working under artificial light.

A natural eye lotion, which is ideal for tired and bloodshot and sore eyes, can be made by adding two tablespoons of fresh parsley and one teaspoon each of dried elder flower and fennel seed to a ceramic bowl and covering with 300ml of boiling water.

Infuse the herbs until the water becomes tepid, then strain through sterile muslin cloth and then bathe eyes, as required, using an eye bath. You can store the infusion for up to two days in the refrigerator.

If you're feeling tired and your eyelids feel heavy, lie down in a quiet and semi-darkened room with your feet raised above the level of your head, and apply any of the following quick and easy eye treatments:

TEA-BAGS: squeeze out excess moisture and apply after they have cooled down.

THIN slices of raw potato: use for slight puffiness or a bruised sensation.

SLICES of cucumber: to cool and soothe and to help to keep wrinkles at bay.

Day-to-day eye care

The skin under the eye is very thin and delicate, and care should be taken when removing makeup.

Use a very fine oil, such as apricot or almond, to remove it so that it floats off.

After cleansing, it is important to tone this tissue to ensure the skin retains its elasticity.

Gently pat witch hazel (from the chemist) on to the surrounding eye tissue, avoiding an over-generous application as this will only cause stinging.

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