2022 Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 11 – Bright Eyed & Bubbly. This Sober Sunday mocktail is a simple combination of non-alcoholic sparkling wine, non-alcoholic spirit, and a tasty syrup.
I try to encourage mindful consumption year-round but think it’s especially important to share full-flavour, zero-hangover options during this most indulgent time of year.
This post is sponsored by Merivale Vision Care.
Aside from being a great zero-proof option throughout the holiday season, drinks like these will be great to revisit during Dry January. A study from January 2022 revealed that nearly 1 in 5 Americans were committing to sobriety for the month – up from 13% the year before. Amongst millennials, a full 27% of the generational cohort said they were teetotaling for Dry January.
I’ve been taking part for the past few years and plan to do so again in 2023. It’s always eye-opening to see what a difference cutting out alcohol can make – I find I get better sleep, my anxiety is reduced, my skin and hair look healthier, and my eyes are brighter.
I’m not big on sweeping New Year’s resolutions like overhauling my diet or getting to the gym every day. Instead I try to identify 1-3 micro-resolutions I can make that are concrete, easy to implement, and measurable. This year, I’m focused on trying to keep my eyes bright year-round.
I have dry eye disease and other ophthalmic conditions that have required surgery several times over the past few years. I had something called “pterygia” in both eyes which is a raised, wedge-shaped growth of the conjunctiva that extends onto the cornea. While this is fairly uncommon amongst people in my age group, my pterygia were growing fairly rapidly towards my pupil and causing me near constant discomfort – itchiness, redness, foreign object sensation, etc. If the pterygia were left unchecked, it could have eventually caused decreased or distorted vision.
I had the pterygia removed from both eyes but unfortunately had an aggressive healing response in my right eye which caused scar tissue to form on my cornea and required subsequent surgical intervention. The scarring has been quite stubborn and my ophthalmologist hasn’t been able to remove all of the scar tissue. As a result, I still suffer from irritation, foreign object sensation, and general discomfort.
I’ve been working closely with my optometrist, Dr. Joelle Zagury at Merivale Vision Care to manage my symptoms, alleviate my discomfort, and hopefully put off any need for additional surgeries for as long as possible.
Merivale Vision Care has a dedicated Dry Eye Clinic that includes a series of cutting edge treatments to assess and treat dry eye disease. I’ll be sharing some footage of the high-tech assessment and treatments I’ve undergone in the past couple of months in my Instagram Stories today so you can get a better line of sight (pun intended) on what it’s all about.
I’ve learned A LOT during this process and now have the tools and knowledge to take better care of my eyeballs. One of the main things I’ve learned is that there are oil glands (called meibomian glands) in your eyelids and the oil produced by those glands helps keep your eyes lubricated. Turns out my glands are chronic under-performers. As a high-achiever, I’m sure you can guess how that thrills me.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, alcohol can exacerbate some of my dry eye symptoms so consuming in moderation is an ongoing commitment to my health. Having great zero-proof cocktail recipes like this Bright Eyed & Bubbly on hand are a great way to satisfy my desire to craft a beautiful drink and sip on something tasty, while prioritizing my health.
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is the leading cause of Dry eye disease. MGD is when the glands, that create the oil layer of your tears, get clogged and can start to atrophy. The treatments I’ve been receiving at Merivale Vision Care include low level light therapy (LLLT) and Intense Regulated Pulsed Light (IRPL).
Developed by NASA, LLLT has proven effective at treating dry eye disease. LLLT uses specially designed LED lights to gently warm up the eyelids, causing the meibomian glands to unclog and release oils needed to keep eyes healthy, moisturized and comfortable.
IPRL is a light therapy that stimulates your meibomian glands to improve the production of lipid in your tears & reduce redness and inflammation in the eyelids caused by ocular rosacea.
I’ve had four of each of these treatments and then Dr. Zagury “expressed” my meibomian glands to remove and clogged up gunk and improve oil production. It’s basically a Dr. Pimple Popper moment for the oil glands in your eyelids.
Since having these treatments, I’ve noticed an improvement in my symptoms. As part of my micro-resolutions for now, into 2023 and beyond, I need to stay on top of my eye health by keeping up with at-home symptom management including the regular use of preservative-free eyedrops, taking Omega 3s which helps oil production, wearing a heated eye mask for 5-10 minutes before bed, and using lid cleansers.
If I had waited much longer to address my dry eye symptoms, it could have been too late to make a difference and I would have been living with chronic discomfort. So, if you’re planning to make any health-based resolutions for 2023, don’t overlook the importance of your eye health and if you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, I highly recommend booking an appointment at Merivale Vision Care for an assessment.
Start the workweek bright-eyed and bubbly by celebrating Sober Sunday with this zero-proof sparkling cocktail.