Eyes Feeling Tired?


October 8, 2023

Why Do My Eyes Feel Tired?

With the increased use of computers and other electronic devices (increased screen time) and the regular stresses of life, a lot of people feel like their eyes get tired during the day. On a regular basis, probably around 10-20 times a day, I discuss the problems of eyestrain or dry eyes with my patients. While this may sound like a minimal problem, dry eyes or eyestrain is a big issue that affects millions of people around the world on a daily basis.

What Is Eyestrain or Dry Eye?

Whenever we use our eyes for an extended period, especially when it is an activity that requires a lot of attention, we tend not to blink as often. Blinking is an essential component of eye health, as it rewets the surface of the front of the eye (the cornea) and allows even distribution of the tear film over the entire front surface of the eyeball. If you don’t blink regularly, your eyes dry out. You can experience symptoms such as blurred vision, variable vision, fatigue, diffuse eye pressure, eye pain, or simple tiredness.

How Can I Treat My Tired Eyes?

There are several easy strategies to treat eyestrain, many of which are consistent with a normal healthy lifestyle. First, proper hydration is key. Unless a person has health conditions that prevent them from drinking a lot of fluids, you should drink at least 4-6 glasses of water a day. Drinks like diet sodas, iced tea, coffee, and most energy drinks don’t count as methods of hydration. (In fact, they usually dehydrate you.)

Getting proper sleep cannot be over-emphasized, as it has countless benefits. An adult should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep (if not more) every night. Proper sleep hygiene will also help minimize eyestrain. Oral supplements like fish oil or omega-3 oil have been shown to increase the lubrication of the eye (and have tremendous other health and cardiac benefits).

While using your eyes for a long period of time isn’t harmful, excessive reading can dry out the eyes, regardless of whether this is a computer screen, tablet, book, or magazine. In addition to the above-mentioned interventions, you should blink regularly (usually this is involuntary) and blink intentionally every 5 minutes. Every 20-30 minutes, it may be useful to stand up for a minute, blink a few times, and take a few sips of water.

If you have eye conditions that require regularly using medicated drops (for example, glaucoma eyedrops), remember that these eyedrops can lead to further dryness and/or eye irritation. Using these medications can make it even more likely that you may be prone to dry eye or eyestrain, and the above interventions are even more important to follow.

With the increasing use of electronic devices in all our lives, eyestrain will be a reality for many of us. Thankfully, a few simple steps will allow most individuals to live productive and comfortable lives without major problems from eyestrain.

– By Davinder S. Grover, MD, MPH | Surgeon, Clinician | Source- WebMed