Do your eyes feel irritated and itchy? Do work colleagues or family members regularly comment on how tired you look?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, it’s possible that you’re suffering from tired eyes.
Tired eyes are a result of your eyes working too hard. Whether you spend a long time looking at a screen, you have allergies or you have the wrong prescription for your glasses, these things can all put strains on your eyes, causing them to work overtime and become dry, red, itchy or puffy.
What causes heavy tired eyes?
There could be a number of reasons why your eyes feel tired.
If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, your blink rate decreases by up to 60 per cent, from 10-15 blinks per minute down to 6-9 blinks per minute. But blinking is important. Every time you blink, a film consisting of mucus, water and oil covers your eye, ensuring that it’s hydrated.
Eyeblink found that people solving maths problems hardly blinked at all until they’d found the answers. Therefore, prolonged screen time can make your eyes feel dry, irritated and tired. Types of screens that may affect your eyes include televisions, computers, tablets, mobile phones, video game devices and reading devices, such as a Kindle. Extended periods of reading, writing and driving can also make your eyes feel more tired. This is again due to a decreased blink rate when people are concentrating.
But it’s not just decreased blink rate that makes screens bad for your eyes. Screen glare and excessively bright lights or screens are also a common problem. Perhaps there’s sunlight that reflects off your screen or the screen is too bright. Both of these things should be adjusted to be kinder to your eyes.
Straining to see in a dimly lit room could also have an effect on your eyes, so if you’re reading, ensure that the lighting is bright enough. Avoid reading in a room where the only light is from one small lamp.
Allergies, too much salt or dehydration could also be the cause of your tired eyes.
There are a number of symptoms associated with tired eyes, including light sensitivity, dry eyes, blurred vision, fatigue, headaches, nausea and difficulty reading. If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s likely that you’re straining your eyes on a regular basis. You should try to make small changes such as reducing your screen’s brightness or using an anti-glare cover for it.
How to treat tired puffy eyes
If you’ve woken up in the morning with puffy eyes, your first instinct might be to panic – you can’t go to work looking like you’ve slept for two hours. Luckily, puffiness usually goes down in the hour after you’ve woken up. This is because you don’t blink when you’re asleep and your eyelids can swell from lack of movement. Within 60 minutes of blinking and eye movement, the puffiness should have subsided.
But your puffy eyes may not be from sleeping. If you find they’re hanging around a little longer than just the morning, there are a number of things you could do to help reduce the swelling.
Puffiness could be a sign of dehydration, so ensure you’re drinking plenty of water in the day to keep your body hydrated.
If you use screens a lot for your job, it can be almost impossible to reduce your screen time. You could try using an eyewash that can soothe and hydrate tired eyes that are affected by extensive screen use, contact lens wear or air-conditioned offices.
There are also some solutions that you could try at home. There’s a reason cucumbers are used in a spa, and it’s not so you can eat them. If you’ve ever had cucumbers put on your eyes, you know that it feels cool and soothing. Cucumber contains Vitamin C, which rejuvenates your skin, and folic acid, which fights the toxins that give the appearance of tired eyes. You should let the cool cucumber sit on your eyes for around 15 minutes. When the cucumber begins to warm up, you can flip it over to the cold side.
Unfortunately, puffy eyes can be passed down to you from your parents, in which case there isn’t much you can do to reduce the symptoms. They could also be a sign of a thyroid problem, so if the puffiness doesn’t go down after following our suggestions, then you should arrange an appointment with your doctor.
How to rest your eyes without sleeping
Once you’ve determined the cause of your tired eyes, you want to start taking some steps that could help to alleviate the symptoms. If dehydration is the cause, drink more water, and if you eat a lot of salt, begin to cut this out where you can.
There are other ways you can rest your eyes without sleeping, and we’ve listed some of these below.
Take frequent screen breaks
You should try the 20-20-20 trick if your job means you’re staring at screens for eight hours a day. Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet in front of you for at least 20 seconds. It is good for your eyes to focus on things that are far away as well as close up. It keeps your eye muscles working and has been proven to reduce eye strain.
Where possible, get up and speak to a member of staff instead of calling them from your desk. This is not only beneficial for your eyes, but for the rest of your body too.
We talked about screen glare earlier on in the article and reducing the glare on your screen can be difficult. However, there are ways to combat it. For example, if the sunlight shines on your screen during the afternoon at work, you could ask someone if you can move desks or have slanting blinds installed so you can deflect the rays.
You could also try anti-glare glasses or an anti-glare cover that sits on top of your screen.
Use eye drops
If you aren’t blinking enough, you can use eye drops to restore the liquid lost in your eye. Eye drops get to work immediately when they’re applied and will help to relieve your symptoms.
Apply warm water and a flannel
Otherwise known as a hot compress, applying a warm flannel to your eyes for 20 minutes can get rid of your tired eye symptoms. It can improve circulation, soothe inflammation and kickstart your glands that produce tears. This means that applying a hot compress regularly could improve your tired eyes long term.