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Looking Good and Seeing Well

If I had to guess, I’d say you probably would be willing to run to the grocery store with your hair quickly pulled back in a ponytail. You most likely would take out the dog wearing your boyfriend’s oversized sweatshirt. You might even drop the kids off at school in the morning still wearing your bunny slippers. But leave the house without your eyebrows plucked? Not likely! If you got pinkeye, would you let other people see you without eye makeup—and wearing greasy eye medicine? Only if you could wear dark sunglasses, right? Personally I don’t like to do errands without at least some mascara and eyeliner. I never know whom I might see—and who might see me!

You probably spend extra attention on your eyes because they are so expressive. You look into other people’s eyes to see if they are telling the truth, to find out what they are feeling, to show them you are fearless, and to let them know you love them. Your eyes not only see the world but also communicate to the world your thoughts, feelings, and intentions.

The way you present your eyes says something too. You may prefer the fresh-faced, minimal-makeup approach, showing that you are a natural beauty. Or you may prefer the ultraglam, richly made-up look, complete with jewel-toned eye shadow and false eyelashes—including, if you’re Madonna, $10,000 mink eyelashes with diamonds on them! Part of the beauty of eyes, of course, is that you can have it both ways and simply switch your palette to match your mood.

When you’re healthy, your eyes are clear and bright. If you’re not feeling well, other people will be able to tell immediately by your eyes. Sometimes the appearance of your eyes gives clues to systemic problems, like liver, thyroid, or kidney disorders. Stunning eyes say so much about you, and they are flattering to your entire look. Following is my best advice for keeping your eyes healthy and bright.

Our eyes put up with a lot. We expect them to be 100 percent reliable, and we count on them to see accurately under all sorts of conditions, from the deepest night to a day with blazing sun reflecting off white snow. We subject our eyes to all kinds of tasks, from reading the tiny print on medicine bottles and BlackBerrys to scanning the far horizon. As children we read under the covers with flashlights, sat too close to the television, and had flashbulbs go off in our faces so brightly that we saw spots afterward. Now that youth is no longer on our side, it makes sense to give our eyes some extra nutritional support so they will stay clear and captivating.

When we laugh or squint, we get “crow’s feet” at the corners of our eyes. Laughing is always beneficial, but squinting . . . not so much. The skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body, and because it has very few sweat or oil glands, it tends to be dry. With repeated squinting, the wrinkles become more embedded, giving the face more character, but a less youthful appearance. To keep the skin around your eyes flexible and hydrated, use moisturizer and followmy nutritional guidelines for thirsty skin.

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