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8 Ways To Relieve Tired Eyes

Tired, dry, itchy eyes can interfere with concentration and productivity. From making minor adjustments to lighting to taking periodic breaks, these tricks are all you need to ease eye strain.

By D Tejaswi
16 Aug 2021

“Small fonts, blue light, excessive internet-surfing, intensive reading and—even—video games compel your eyes to overwork,” says Dr Uma Mallaiah, Ophthalmologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. As a result, your eyes can feel heavy and tired all the time. While your eye muscles have the natural ability to handle quick back-and-forth of multiple movements, intense focus for prolonged periods can exhaust your visual system, explains Dr Mallaiah. The other symptoms of eye fatigue include blurred vision, dry eyes, poor concentration, and headache around your eyes. Usually, eye fatigue does not cause any long-term impact on health and goes away on its own with good rest and sleep.

8 Ways To Relieve Tired Eyes

1 Splash cold water.

Using cold water on your eyelids improves blood circulation and relaxes your eyes. “It also helps reduce puffy eyes that can occur with eye strain,” says Dr Mallaih. Use a clean cloth or soft cloth tissue napkins. Soak in cold water and place on your eyelids for two minutes. Alternatively, you can also opt for a cool compress instead of water. Cold compresses are a comparable alternative to artificial tears for dry eyes, finds the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.


2 Or try a warm compress.

“Warm moist air helps bring symptomatic relief in ocular fatigue in patients,” finds Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body. Dip a soft, clean cloth into warm water and find a comfortable place to lie down. Place the warm towel over your eyelids and close your eyes. Take deep calming breaths for one minute.



3 Use your old green tea bags.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research finds that green tea extract is an effective, safe treatment for mild and moderate evaporative dry eyes. The anti-oxidative, anti-bacterial, anti-androgen, and immunomodulatory properties of green tea extract improve the health of meibomian glands (oil glands along the edge of the eyelids) relieving eye fatigue. Place the tea bags in a clean container in the fridge after brewing your tea. Use them as needed.


4 Work in a well-lit area.

Modifying the ergonomics of your environment helps reduce eye fatigue. The imbalance of light between you and your surroundings affects ocular health. “When reading or working, make sure you have adequate and proper means of illumination,” says Dr Mallaiah. Adjust contrast, screen distance, glare and brightness as needed when working on a screen for longer durations.

When you know that you have to work for a long time, use desk lamps, under-cabinet lights, workstation lighting over bright white or incandescent bulbs. “Imbalance of light between the computer screen and the surrounding is an important factor you should think about. For example, dark background screens often require lower lights level so when other source of documents are also viewed at the same time an additional reading lamp may be needed to prevent ocular strain,” finds the paper Understanding and Preventing Computer Vision Syndrome.



5 Take breaks every 20 minutes.

“Taking a short break, stretching muscles, change of scenery, and taking a quick walk have all been demonstrated to lessen stress-related ocular symptoms such as eye fatigue,” finds the study in Malaysian Family Physician. Eye strain has been linked to working nonstop for more than 4 hours. “Ocular strain and visual tiredness can be also avoided by closing your eyes or looking at something far away once every 20 minutes,” says Dr Mallaiah.


6 Use artificial tears.

A safe lubricating agent, you can use artificial tears many times a day to relieve eye strain. “You can procure lubricating eye drops at any medical store, over the counter. But if you are someone with contact lenses, you should talk to your ophthalmologist about the kind of artificial tears you should be using,” explains the doctor. Artificial tears help maintain moisture, ease dryness and irritation.


7 Look at green plants.

Researchers Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M University and Helen Russell of Surrey University in England find a significant reduction in eye strain in the presence of plants. In their experiment, they used green plants at 27 workstations and allotted a computer test to each participant during which they analysed the levels of eye strain and stress. Participants not only showed increased focus and less eye strain when plants were available, but their reaction speed to the test also increased by 12 percent. “Also, green plants such as bamboo palms or philodendrons also filter out air irritants such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide that can further minimise eye irritation, “says Dr Mallaiah.


8 Exercise your eyes.

Dr Mallaiah recommends a specific exercise called Zooming that works well for people who look at the computer screen all day. To do this, hold your arm straight out and focus on your thumb. Slowly bend the elbow to bring the thumb close to the eyes. Repeat this for 2 minutes. You could also practice tracing an imaginary figure of eight with your eyes.





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