Looking after your eyes over the Christmas period

Eye experts advise eight simple tips on how to keep eyes feeling and looking their best this winter

We all know the festive period can cause havoc with our waistlines, but late nights, increased alcohol consumption and central heating can also impact eyes, leaving them dry, itchy and red, advises the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

With a fortnight of celebrations ahead, here are the Association’s top tips, including a 60 second video guide to dry eye, for caring for your eyes this party season.

  1. Clean up your make up – Studies have shown that one in three mascara products are bacterially contaminated within three months of use1 . To avoid the risk of eye infection replace yours regularly, and don’t share it with friends

  2. Eat for your eye health – Both long- and short-term eye health is affected by what you eat. Making the effort to include omega-3 fats, found in oily fish and some nuts, and lutein, found in dark-green, leafy vegetables, will help keep your eyes feeling comfortable and healthy. Vitamins A, C and E are also helpful, so make sure you tuck into those Christmas oranges (not the chocolate kind)

  3. Stay hydrated – With dark mornings and late nights, you’ll probably be drinking more alcohol and caffeine than normal. To keep your eyes looking and feeling fresh, make sure you drink plenty of water

  4. Schedule screen breaks – Winter can mean long stints in front of Netflix or browsing for gifts online, leading to dry, tired eyes. Observe the 20/20/20 rule – looking at something 20 meters away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes – to reduce dryness and irritation and to relieve eyestrain

  5. Use your contact lenses carefully – If you’re thinking of trying out contact lenses, make sure you get the best advice by speaking to your optometrist or optician. They can find the right fit and advise on how to use and maintain them safely – avoiding red, angry eyes and potentially dangerous infections

  6. Say no to ‘social’ smoking – Smoking not only dries out your eyes in the short term but it can lead to an increased risk of eye disease over time, particularly cataract, and age related macular degeneration, so stay smoke free this year

  7. Use the right eye drops – Even when you are doing everything right, winter can be hard on eyes and simply using central heating can increase the symptoms of dry eye. The right eye drops can really help, not only making them feel better but making them look clearer too. Speak to your optometrist for advice and watch the AOP’s 60 second advice video for more information

  8. Get some sleep – We know this is a big ask, but your eyes will thank you for it

Optometrist and AOP spokesperson Ceri Smith-Jaynes, commented: “Winter, and especially the festive period, can put unique pressures on your eye health – but taking some simple steps will help reduce discomfort and irritation.

“It’s also important to remember that not all eye health issues will have visible symptoms, which is why we recommend you visit your optometrist every two years, or more often if recommended.”

For more information about eye care and top tips for healthy eyes, see the AOP website


High resolution images can be downloaded.

For more information, please contact Emily Campbell, PR and Marketing Officer, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit

1 Optometry. 2008 Oct;79(10):587-93. doi: 10.1016/j.optm.2008.02.011. Microbial contamination associated with mascara use. Pack LD1, Wickham MG, Enloe RA, Hill DN.