Eye Fatigue. What You Can Do To Remedy It

Do you notice your eyes getting tired? These days we’re spending a lot of time doing things like looking at screens and driving. Eye fatigue is becoming more common. It can affect people of all ages.

We’ll help you recognize the signs of eye fatigue in yourself — and your family.

Eye fatigue sometimes is a sign of an issue that requires treatment from an eye care professional. If these at-home remedies don’t help, call your eye professional.

Causes of Tired Eyes

Knowing why your eyes get tired can help you find the right remedy. Common eye fatigue causes:

  • Too much screen time, including time spent looking at the TV, computer monitors, tablets and smartphones
  • Reading without taking a break
  • Driving for a long time
  • Trying to see under bright lights or in high glare
  • Trying to see in dim lighting
  • Air blowing on your face and eyes from a fan, heater or air conditioner
  • Being stressed or tired

Signs of Eye Fatigue

When you have tired eyes, you likely know it. You may notice:

  • Sore, burning or itchy eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred or double vision
  • A feeling that you can’t keep your eyes open

Eye fatigue can also prompt other issues, including:

  • Headaches
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Trouble concentrating

Remedies for Eye Fatigue

If too much screen time tires your eyes, the American Optometric Association recommends you follow the 20-20-20 rule:

Take a 20 second break

every 20 minutes and look

at something 20 feet away.

If you have children, the National Institutes of Health recommend kids under age 2 have no screen time. Limit screen time for children over age 2 to one to two hours per day.

Other Ways to Reduce Eye Strain

  • Use the right light. When reading printed material, put your light behind you and aim the light at your page. When reading at a desk, place your light in front of you. Use a shade so the light doesn’t shine into your eyes.
  • Use the right eyewear. If you need glasses or contacts for computer work, use them. You might invest in eyewear that’s made for computer work. Ask your eye care professional about lens treatments that might help.When outdoors, sunglasses with polarized lenses and UV protection can reduce glare and fatigue.
  • Create eye-friendly surroundings. For screen time (computers, televisions, smartphones), use softer room light to avoid glare. Lights and sunlight above or behind could be a problem. Avoid having your TV or computer screens face a window. An anti-glare cover on your screen can help. Tablets and smartphones are susceptible to glare problems, too. Ongoing vision problems with computer screens can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome. Your eye care professional can answer questions about this condition.
  • Keep your computer screen clean. Smudges and dust create a vision problem.
  • Position your computer screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level.
  • Blink more often to keep your eyes moist when you’re at your computer.
  • Consider a humidifier if your eyes get dry.
  • Avoid sitting where air blows in your face. Air sources include the furnace or air conditioning.
  • Avoid smoke and smoking.

Now, after reading this information, if you have tired eyes, that may mean it’s time for the 20-20-20 rule. Or you’re open to the power of suggestion. Either way, you now have helpful guidance about your eye health. Ask your eye care professional if you have other vision concerns.

Meet the Author

Catherine Chu, MD is a family medicine physician at Aurora Advanced Healthcare in New Berlin, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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