Eye strain and tired eyes

A person removes their glasses to rub their eyes

Eye strain, or tired eyes, is a common condition resulting from prolonged or intense use of the eyes or from exposure to certain environmental conditions. It can cause a number of eye- and vision-related symptoms which, while uncomfortable, are rarely serious.

Eye strain symptoms

The symptoms of eye strain and tired eyes can include:

  •  tired, sore, burning, itchy or irritated eyes 
  • a feeling of heaviness in the eyes, or that you can’t keep your eyes open
  • dry eyes, caused by blinking less when looking at computer screens
  • watery eyes
  • blurred vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • neck, back or shoulder pain
  • headaches

If these symptoms persist, seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Causes of eye strain and tired eyes

Any activity that involves prolonged or intense use of the eye can cause eye strain or tired eyes, as can certain environmental conditions. The most common causes include:

  • lack of sleep
  • close up work such as reading, writing and certain crafts like sewing
  • driving for long distances
  • glare from bright lights or straining to see in very dim light
  • air-conditioned environments
  • staring at computer or mobile device screens for extensive periods
A woman looks at her phone in a dark bedroom

Many people now experience digital eye strain – sometimes called computer vision syndrome (CVS). This is a collective term for tired eyes caused by excessive screen usage and is a growing problem with the widespread use of smartphones and computers, both at work and home.

Be aware that you could also experience eye strain if your contact lens or glasses prescription isn’t up to date or suitable for your needs. If you think this might be the case, make an appointment with your optometrist.

Although eye strain can be uncomfortable, it is not usually serious and can be alleviated by making a few small changes. Eye strain and tired eyes should recover and feel more comfortable by resting your eyes and following some self-help tips.

Eye strain and tired eyes treatment

If your eyes are feeling uncomfortable because of eye strain, there are a few options available to you. A warm compress is a great way to relax the muscles around the eyes and help them recover from intense work – simply soak a clean cloth in warm water and apply to closed eyes. 

Alternatively, you can try using specialist eye care products. Vizulize has a range of products to cool and soothe eyes, as well as moisturising and lubricating solutions for when your eyes feel dry: 

All Vizulize products have been specially formulated to be pH balanced to the eye’s tear fluid so as not to sting on application. They’re also completely safe for use while wearing contact lenses, without the need to remove them.

If symptoms of eye strain persist, make sure you consult your healthcare professional as this may be a sign of an underlying condition that requires specific treatment.

Preventing eye strain and tired eyes

By following just a few simple tips, you can help prevent future eye strain and tired eyes:

  • Make sure to get enough sleep – your eyes need time to rest and recover
  • Place computer screens 20 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level
  • Choose computer screens that tilt and use a glare filter
  • Take regular breaks when using screens or engaged in close up work – remember the 20/20/20 rule, every 20 minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds
  • Change lighting to avoid bright, harsh glare
  • Add a humidifier to indoor air-conditioned environments
  • Have regular eye check-ups and ensure that your glasses or contact lens prescription is up to date

These guidelines won’t just help avoid eye strain and tired eyes – they’re general best practice when it comes to keeping your eyes in great health.

Related products

Vizulize Cooling and Soothing Eye Drops
Vizulize Cooling & Soothing Eye Drops

A specialist formulation providing immediate cooling and soothing relief for dry, tired and irritated eyes.

Vizulize Intensive Dry Eye Drops
Vizulize Intensive Dry Eye Drops

Our most intensive formula for relieving and soothing dry and sensitive eyes.

Vizulize Dry Eye Mist
Vizulize Dry Eye Mist

A simple and convenient alternative to eye drops that soothes and relieves dry eyes.

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