For most of us, Jennifer Aniston is our beauty and lifestyle icon. She always looks incredible on the red carpet and is vocal on the importance of having a healthy and balanced lifestyle—plus, it looks like she doesn’t age AT ALL, right?!
But as it turns out, the seemingly perfect actress has had a common chronic condition for years without even knowing it. She says that she has been suffering from chronic dry eye for decades and that it’s even affected her beauty, work, and fitness routines!
“I never knew it was a real problem, just that it was really a problem for me,” Aniston tells Reader’s Digest. “It was the biggest problem I had on set, I’d sometimes have to stop for ten minutes or more just to lay a cloth on my eyes, or I’d be stopping just to put drops in my eyes over and over again. You can’t even imagine what it’s like to film really emotional scenes when your eyes are already a problem.”
So, what exactly is chronic dry eye? It’s a “condition in which a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision,” according to the American Optometric Association. It also affects millions of people—16 million adults in fact—and about 19% of older adults have a diagnosis, but, it often goes undiagnosed.
“I just remember not knowing this was a real condition,” Aniston says of her eye drop obsession, which she used to keep with her at all times until she was diagnosed. “I didn’t even know eye health was a thing. You think about so many other types of health, but you just assume your eyes are folded into the rest. You don’t even consider that eye health is an issue all on its own. I’d be with makeup artists using my little bottle of tears, and telling them I could only use certain makeup products or that I’d have to stay away from certain looks because I was afraid of using eyeliner or mascara. It was crazy.”
Now, Aniston is using her platform to spread awareness for chronic dry eye. She’s teamed with eyelove for a new campaign that addresses the “formerly embarrassing” symptoms of the condition, like irritation, grittiness, occasional blurry vision, burning, itchy eyes, to help people identify them and feel comfortable discussing them, which is something Aniston struggled with before.
“It was every aspect of my life that was being affected by my dry eye. I couldn’t go for a normal run without needing my tears or having to stop for several minutes at a time. I couldn’t work out outside because I was afraid I’d have an eye reaction to sunscreen.” she explained. “I used to just think that because I have blue eyes I was just more sensitive. Everyone always told me blue eyes are naturally more sensitive, but now I know that’s not the real reason at all.”
Think you may have chronic dry eye? Head on over to eyelove.com to find out more!