Eye strain occurs when you use your eyes so intensely that it causes fatigue. While it’s usually not a serious eye problem, it can be annoying for a person to feel tired eyes. In some cases, eye strain is a symptom of underlying eye diseases.
Some activities that could lead to eye strain include long hours of driving or staring at a digital screen. While these activities may be unavoidable due to your job, there are strategies to reduce eye fatigue.
One of the best ways to combat eye strain is to proactively prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips to help relax your eyes.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule
Taking a break from screen time is essential for relaxing your eyes. Many people spend all day looking at computer screens. When you are regularly using digital devices, you should factor in breaks to give your eyes a rest.
This is where the 20-20-20 rule comes into play. It’s recommended to take a 20-second break for every 20 minutes of looking at a screen and look at something 20 feet away during the break.
Try the clock exercise
Eye exercises can help ease eye fatigue. One popular method is the clock exercise, which works like this:
- Picture an analog clock in front of you
- Move your eyes to the 6:00 position and hold your gaze for a second while keeping your head still
- Then move your eyes to the 12:00 position and hold your gaze for a second
- Do the exercise again with opposite pairs on the clock (3:00/9:00, 4:00/10:00, etc.)
- Repeat for 2-3 minutes
This exercise won’t help you gain stronger eye muscles, but it may help relieve the strain from overworked eye muscles.
Adjust your workspace
The way you arrange your workspace can significantly impact your eye health. Your computer setup and even the way you sit can cause or prevent eye strain.
Here are some things to check in your work environment:
- Place the computer screen 20-28 inches away from your eyes
- The top of the computer should be at eye level or just below
- Adjust computer text size so you don’t squint
- Alter the computer screen’s brightness and contrast to prevent eye strain
- Your feet should be flat on the floor
Making small adjustments to your workspace can provide a less stressful environment for your eyes.
Use a warm compress
Warm compresses on your eyes have many health benefits, including adding moisture, easing pain, and increasing blood flow. A warm compress may help alleviate eye strain.
One of the easiest ways to use a warm compress is to apply a washcloth that has been soaked with warm water.
Improve air quality
Sometimes the air quality can lead to dry eyes, which can make your eyes feel tired and lead to eye strain.
Try using a humidifier during the winter months, which will add more moisture to the air and subsequently your eyes. You can also consider adjusting your thermostat, since air conditioners can dry the air.
Consult an ophthalmologist
Finally, consulting with an eye care professional can help you determine what you need for healthy eyes. This is especially true if you are persistently dealing with eye strain and can’t seem to find relief.
At Manning, Rommel, and Thode, our highly experienced ophthalmologists provide medical & surgical eye care and recommendations on how to treat any eye problems. If you’re looking for an eye specialist in Lancaster, PA, look no further than Manning, Rommel, & Thode. Schedule an appointment by calling us at 717-393-7980, option 1.