How to relieve tired burning eyes

How do I alleviate eye strain and discomfort?

  • By

    Dana Sparks

Eyestrain occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as while driving long distances or staring at computer screens and other digital devices.

Eyestrain doesn't have serious or long-term consequences, but it can be aggravating and unpleasant. It can make you tired and reduce your ability to concentrate. It usually goes away once you rest your eyes or take other steps to reduce your eye discomfort. But in some cases, signs and symptoms of eyestrain can indicate an underlying eye condition that needs treatment.

Signs and symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

Common causes of eyestrain include:

  • Looking at digital device screens
  • Reading without pausing to rest your eyes
  • Driving long distances and doing other activities involving extended focus
  • Being exposed to bright light or glare
  • Straining to see in very dim light
  • Having an underlying eye problem, such as dry eyes or uncorrected vision (refractive error)
  • Being stressed or fatigued
  • Being exposed to dry moving air from a fan, heating or air-conditioning system

Consider these lifestyle tips and home remedies to reduce or prevent eyestrain:

  • Adjust the lighting.
    When watching television, it may be easier on your eyes if you keep the room softly lit.When reading printed materials or doing close work, try to position the light source behind you and direct the light onto your page or task. If you're reading at a desk, use a shaded light positioned in front of you. The shade will keep light from shining directly into your eyes.
  • Take breaks.
    When doing close work, take occasional breaks and rest your eyes by looking away from the digital screen.
  • Limit screen time.
    This is especially important for children, who may not make the connection between extended viewing, eyestrain and the need to rest their eyes regularly.
  • Use artificial tears.
    Over-the-counter artificial tears can help prevent and relieve dry eyes. Use them even when your eyes feel fine to keep them well-lubricated and prevent a recurrence of symptoms. Your healthcare provider can suggest which eyedrops might be best for you. Lubricating drops that don't contain preservatives can be used as often as you need. If the drops you're using contain preservatives, don't use them more than four times a day. Avoid eyedrops with a redness remover, as these may worsen dry eye symptoms.
  • Improve the air quality of your space.
    Some changes that may help prevent dry eyes include using a humidifier, adjusting the thermostat to reduce blowing air and avoiding smoke. If you smoke, consider quitting. Moving your chair to a different area may help reduce the amount of dry moving air on your eyes and face.
  • Choose the right eyewear for you.
    If you need glasses or contacts and work at a computer, consider investing in glasses or contact lenses designed specifically for computer work. Ask your optometrist about lens coatings and tints that might help too.

Some eyestrain symptoms may be relieved by natural products, such as bilberry extract and omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, but further study is needed. Talk with your healthcare provider if you're considering supplements to help relieve your signs and symptoms.

Tips for computer work

Computer use is a common cause of eyestrain. If you work at a desk and use a computer, these self-care steps can help take some of the strain off your eyes.

  • Blink often to refresh your eyes.
    Many people blink less than usual when working at a computer, which can contribute to dry eyes. Blinking produces tears that moisten and refresh your eyes. Try to make it a habit to blink more often when looking at a monitor.
  • Take eye breaks.
    Throughout the day, give your eyes a break by looking away from your monitor. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Check the lighting and reduce glare.
    Bright lighting and too much glare can strain your eyes and make it difficult to see objects on your monitor. The worst problems are generally from sources above or behind you, including fluorescent lighting and sunlight. Consider turning off some or all of the overhead lights. If you need light for writing or reading, use an adjustable desk lamp. Close blinds or shades, and avoid placing your monitor directly in front of a window or white wall. Place an anti-glare cover over the screen.
  • Adjust your monitor.
    Position your monitor directly in front of you about an arm's length away so that the top of the screen is at or just below eye level. It helps to have a chair you can adjust too.
  • Use a document holder.
    If you need to refer to print material while you work on your computer, place it on a document holder. Some holders are designed to be placed between the keyboard and monitor; others are placed to the side. Find one that works for you. The goal is to reduce how much your eyes need to readjust and how often you turn your neck and head.
  • Adjust your screen settings.
    Enlarge the type for easier reading. And adjust the contrast and brightness to a level that's comfortable for you.

This article is written by Mayo Clinic staff. Find more health and medical information on

Related articles

Rising cases of COVID-19 variant, XBB.1.5

Flu cases and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) rates are beginning to drop in the U.S.; however, reported cases of COVID-19 are increasing. A new COVID-19 omicron variant, XBB.1.5, is spreading quickly and [...]

By Deb Balzer • January 9, 2023

Consumer Health: What do you know about blood donation?

January is National Blood Donor Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about blood types and the need for blood donation.

Nearly 16 [...]

By Laurel Kelly • January 9, 2023

Eye Fatigue: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Written by Rick Ansorge

Your eyes are burning, itchy, and tired. It’s a common condition but rarely serious. You can take simple steps to prevent or ease this problem.

If those tactics don’t work, see your doctor. What you’re feeling could be a sign of a deeper condition that requires treatment. This is especially important if you have headaches or other problems like:

  • Eye discomfort
  • Double vision
  • A big change in vision

What Causes It?

Anything that requires intense eye use can cause fatigue. Some of the most common are:

  • Reading (especially on a screened device)
  • Writing
  • Driving

If you look at bright light or spend time in a place that’s too dim, it can also tire your peepers.

Your eyes might get tired easily if you stare for long periods at a computer, smartphone, or game console. The eye doctor might call this computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. It affects most people who use one. Some estimates say computer-related eye symptoms may be responsible for up to 10 million eye doctor visits a year. The problem is expected to grow as more people use smartphones and other handheld digital devices, which force your eyes to work harder than usual as they strain to focus on tiny words.

Digital devices may also be linked to eye fatigue because you tend to blink less often when looking at a computer screen. People usually blink about 18 times a minute. This naturally refreshes the eyes. But studies suggest that people only blink about half as often while looking at a computer or other digital device. This can result in dry, tired, itchy, and burning eyes.

What Are the Symptoms?

Be on the lookout for:

  • Sore or irritated eyes
  • Trouble focusing
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, or back

These symptoms can lower your productivity. If you stay awake for long hours working, you can make the problem worse. Sleep refreshes your eye with essential nutrients. Lack of sleep may lead to repeated eye irritation.

How Can You Prevent Eye Fatigue?

Make some simple changes to:

Your computer screen:

  • Place it 20-26 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level.
  • Regularly clean off dust and fingerprints from the surface. Smudges can reduce contrast and create problems like glare and reflections.
  • Choose screens that tilt and swivel.
  • Use a glare filter for your screen.

Your work environment:

  • Change lighting to get rid of glare and harsh reflections.
  • Use an adjustable chair.
  • Place a document holder next to your computer screen.

Your work habits:

  • Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Post a note that says "Blink" on your computer as a reminder.
  • Take regular breaks from computer work.

Your eye-care routine:

  • Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to tired, dry eyes (keep your eyes closed).
  • Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
  • To help prevent dry eyes while indoors, use an air cleaner to filter dust and a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

If you have eye fatigue or pain, see an eye doctor to make sure a deeper medical condition isn’t to blame.

If the problem doesn’t go away, make an appointment for a full eye exam. The doctor can make sure your symptoms aren’t linked to a problem like an eye muscle imbalance or dry eye. They can also tell if your glasses or contact lens prescription is up to date and good for computer use.

How to relieve eye fatigue and reduce eye strain?

Eye health is directly related to whether you can control the load on your eyesight and provide your eyes with sufficient rest. Experts from the Lucky Look federal network of opticians tell you how to relieve eye fatigue and reduce eye strain if you work at a computer.

Sign up for a free vision test


  1. Visual fatigue symptoms
  2. nine0009 Why eyes get tired
  3. How to quickly remove fatigue from the eyes
  4. How to reduce eye strain
  5. Prevention of visual fatigue
  6. Terminals

How to understand that the eyes need rest

Any visual discomfort indicates that it is time to take a break from work and give the eyes a chance to rest. Experts identify the main symptoms that indicate an overstrain of the visual system:

  • Veil, mist before the eyes;
  • Image doubles and blurs;
  • Eyes become inflamed, reddened;
  • Increased tearing and sensitivity to bright light;
  • Possible painful sensations in the eyes - pain, burning, itching;
  • Having trouble focusing at close range;
  • Eyelid twitching possible.

Be careful, these symptoms can also signal the presence of serious visual impairment! To rule out negative scenarios, you need visit an ophthalmologist.

Increased visual fatigue can indicate serious disorders, so do not put off a visit to the ophthalmologist

Causes of increased visual fatigue

Why does vision deteriorate? The main causes of this phenomenon are distinguished:

High eye strain. This is often faced by schoolchildren and students who are forced to read and write a lot, as well as office workers whose activities involve continuous sitting at a computer or reading documents. nine0003

Also, if you are fond of computer games, like to watch TV shows on your mobile gadgets - smartphones or tablets - or spend all your free time with a book, your eyes are also exposed to a high load.

In order to minimize problems with this lifestyle, it is necessary to take breaks as often as possible and give the eyes regular rest.

Computer vision syndrome. This is a whole complex of symptoms, which is caused by overexertion of the visual system due to prolonged use of the computer. The reason for the development of the symptom is not so much the need to look at the monitor for a long time, but the functional change in your posture, eyes, neck. For example, the constant sliding of the gaze from the keyboard to the monitor and back leads to accommodative asthenopia, which is manifested by discomfort, eye fatigue, pain, pain in the superciliary region, blurred vision of the object of fixation. nine0003

Subsequently, this can cause problems such as myopia (nearsightedness), accommodation spasm (inability to focus on small objects and details) and dry eye syndrome.

Properly organized workplace and touch typing skills will help to minimize the harm from constant work at the computer.

Dry eye syndrome. Often appears on the basis of computer vision syndrome, develops due to insufficient moistening of vision: with concentrated work at a computer, a person blinks less often, as a result of which the tear film dries up. Plus - the air near the computer heats up and also becomes dry. nine0003

Organize your workplace and use special glasses for working at the computer

In the summer season, when air conditioners are in operation, the pathological effect of dry air on the eyes only intensifies. And if you use contact lenses, the syndrome develops even faster.

To reduce the negative impact of external factors and provide more comfortable conditions for the eyes, place a humidifier near your workplace. Also buy moisturizing drops (choose them with the help of an ophthalmologist) and use them several times a day. Try to blink as often as possible. nine0003

How to get rid of tired eyes quickly

During a break, do light eye exercises:

  1. Look into the distance for 20 seconds, focus on an object that is located about 20 steps away from you;
  2. Close your eyes and make four rotations with your eyeballs - first clockwise, then against it;
  3. Without opening the eyelids, move the eyes up and down;
  4. End the exercise by blinking rapidly for 30 seconds. The gaze is directed forward. nine0010

To maintain the effect, apply moisturizing drops selected by an ophthalmologist to your eyes. Do not self-medicate, be sure to seek help from a specialist - moisturizing drops come in different viscosities, they can have a healing effect, or they can simply moisten the surface of the eye. Only an ophthalmologist will determine what exactly your vision needs and select the necessary remedy.

Sign up for a free vision test

By the way, gymnastics also requires prior consultation with a doctor. Make sure you have no contraindications. Also, the ophthalmologist can advise other types of gymnastics. nine0003

How to reduce eye strain and prevent fatigue

There are several rules that must be observed in everyday life. Thanks to this, you can significantly reduce the load on your eyesight, and your eyes will get tired much less.

If you work at a computer, the first thing you need to do is to properly organize your workplace.

  1. It is important that the workplace is well and evenly lit. Do not allow the sun's rays to shine directly into your eyes or on the monitor screen, it is better if you sit sideways to the window. Also, there should be blinds on the window so that on sunny days you can control the intensity of lighting - if the light is too bright, your eyes get tired faster. nine0010
  2. Better if you work with a high-quality LCD or plasma monitor, preferably with a large diagonal. Experts recommend choosing monitors with a flicker frequency of 60 to 100 Hz. Be sure to adjust the brightness and contrast of the image for yourself. Remember that an excessively bright screen tires your eyes.
  3. Adjust the monitor to your posture: the center of the monitor should be 10-20 cm below your eyes. The distance to the screen from the eyes should be at least 60 cm.
  4. If possible, reduce computer use to 4 hours a day;
  5. Take breaks every 20 minutes during operation. At this time, you can not switch to mobile gadgets, as there will be no sense in pauses in this case. It is better to perform light eye exercises, which we talked about above. But before performing gymnastics, it is necessary to consult with a specialist and make sure that you have no contraindications to this;
  6. nine0009 Provide air humidification - buy a special device and install it near your workplace;
  7. Regularly use moisturizing drops selected under the supervision of an ophthalmologist;
  8. Try to blink more often;
  9. Use special goggles for working at a computer, they block the blue spectrum of radiation emitted by the monitor and reduce eye strain.

Prevention of visual fatigue

The health of your eyes depends on your daily habits. Hygiene of vision allows you to maintain good health and reduces eye fatigue, even under conditions of increased stress.

  1. Sleep 7-8 hours - a good and full sleep is very important for eye health, which should last at least 7 hours. It is important that the room in which you sleep is darkened;
  2. Stop using gadgets 2 hours before bedtime. Firstly, this way you will fall asleep easier and your sleep will be stronger. Secondly, at this time, the eyes will be able to rest from the irritating light. It is better to read an ordinary paper book or an electronic one, but working on the principle of E-Ink (which means "electronic ink"). No mobile phones, computers or tablets. It is also better to refrain from TV; nine0010
  3. Observe reading hygiene: do not read while lying down or in a moving vehicle, while reading, hold the book at a distance of 30 cm from the eyes. The light source should be behind and slightly above;
  4. Include in your diet foods that are good for vision - blueberries, carrots, melons, fish, etc. One "healthy" menu will not solve the problem, but in combination with other good habits, proper nutrition will have a positive effect on vision and well-being generally; nine0010
  5. Make it a habit to visit an ophthalmologist once a year, even if nothing bothers you. Only timely detection of possible violations will prevent their development. Remember that on your own you cannot always correctly assess your condition;
  6. Sign up for a free vision test

  7. If you need vision correction, it is better to use glasses instead of contact lenses at the computer. Firstly, it will reduce the dryness of the cornea. Secondly, there are special coatings for spectacle lenses that can reduce eye strain and protect them from the blue spectrum of radiation; nine0010
  8. Wash thoroughly before going to bed. Women need to completely remove makeup. Men should also pay enough attention to washing, because during the day dust and dirt particles settle on the eyelashes, which can get into the eyes;
  9. While sleeping, it is better not to use an eye mask. If you cannot fall asleep without it, choose a product that does not put pressure on your eyes and does not squeeze your temples, otherwise the blood circulation of the organs of vision may be impaired. Remember that the mask should be washed regularly. nine0010


Simple exercises that should be done regularly throughout the day will help to quickly relieve fatigue from the eyes. But this is not enough! To make your eyes less strained and tired, it is important to provide the right conditions:

  1. Organize your workplace according to all the rules;
  2. Install a humidifier near the workplace;
  3. Use moisturizing drops throughout the day;
  4. During work break every 20-40 minutes to do gymnastics; nine0010
  5. Reduce the brightness of the monitor and screens of mobile gadgets;
  6. Do not read in a moving vehicle;
  7. Choose from paper books or e-books powered by E-Ink technology;
  8. If possible, reduce your computer time to 4 hours a day;
  9. Do not use mobile gadgets and a computer 2 hours before bedtime;
  10. See an ophthalmologist at least once a year.

Remember that you need to consult an ophthalmologist before doing gymnastics! Moisturizing drops should also be selected by a specialist. nine0003

How to remove fatigue and tension from the eyes?

Dryness or irritation, gritty feeling in the eyes, blurred vision, increased sensitivity to light, pain in the neck, shoulders or back are symptoms familiar to millions of people. We tell you whether excessive eye strain is dangerous for vision, whether glasses are needed and how to deal with unpleasant symptoms.

What is eye fatigue?

The cause of eye fatigue is any activity that requires straining eyesight for a long time: working at a computer, reading and writing, doing small types of needlework, long driving. Incorrectly selected glasses can also cause fatigue. nine0003

Asthenopia, otherwise called visual fatigue, occurs when the muscles responsible for the movement of the eyeballs and changes in the curvature of the lens, that is, the focus of vision, are overstrained. Asthenopia reduces productivity and causes discomfort, but in general it is not dangerous and passes if measures are taken to eliminate it in time. If systematic eye strain is ignored, complications are possible up to a permanent deterioration of vision.

Types of asthenopia:

  • 1 degree - eye fatigue, which disappears after a short break;
  • 2 degree - overwork, due to which unpleasant phenomena persist for up to several days;
  • 3rd degree - overexertion of the eye muscle, leading to long-term or irreversible consequences, up to progressive myopia.

In addition to affecting vision, asthenopia reduces the immunity of the eyes to infections. Against the background of overwork of the eye muscle, conjunctivitis and blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) can develop. nine0003

A special form of asthenopia is computer vision syndrome. The reason for it, as you can easily guess from the name, is a long work at the computer. You are probably familiar with this syndrome if you spend more than three hours a day in front of a computer. As a rule, rest and prevention help to quickly return vision to normal. But if you start the problem, permanent damage to the eyes is possible.

Causes of computer vision syndrome

  1. Less contrast. Unlike text printed on the screen, letters and graphics on the screen are made up of pixels and have less sharpness, even if we don't feel it. Working at a computer requires more strain on your eyesight. nine0010
  2. Glare. Due to incorrect lighting and reflections on the screen, we are forced to strain our eyes in order to clearly perceive the necessary information.
  3. Infrequent blinking. Being in front of a computer, a person blinks much less often than usual, only 3-4 times per minute. Hydration of the eyes suffers, which causes discomfort.
  4. Wrong posture. Sitting at a table in front of a computer, many people involuntarily push their heads forward. This creates an unphysiological stress on the neck, impairs blood flow, makes it difficult for visual signals to reach the brain, and exacerbates the feeling of eye fatigue. nine0010

Relieve eye fatigue

If you work long hours on the computer or have to focus on small objects, you won't be able to completely avoid asthenopia. But proper preventive measures help reduce unpleasant symptoms and preserve vision.

  1. Workplace organization. The computer screen should be approximately 50-60 cm away, at or slightly below eye level. Try to reduce glare and reflections by positioning your monitor so that it is not exposed to window light or artificial lighting. You can use an anti-reflective coating. Properly selected computer chair will help to achieve a natural posture while working. nine0010
  2. Eye moisturizing. Try to blink more often to better moisturize the surface of the eye and relax the muscles. If possible, install a humidifier and air purifier in the room, which will reduce factors that irritate the eyes. If this is not possible, use "artificial tear" drops. It is better to drip them every two hours, without waiting until the dryness of the eyes becomes painful. If the symptoms are severe, the ophthalmologist will prescribe other drugs: mydriatics to relax the ciliary muscle, antibacterial and antihistamines to eliminate the infection, or keratoprotectors to restore the cornea. nine0010
  3. The right glasses. Very often, the wrong choice of optics leads to eye fatigue. If you use glasses, it is advisable to visit an ophthalmologist at least once a year to monitor changes in vision and, if necessary, correct the optics. Ask your doctor to choose glasses that will help you see clearly at close range, up to 60–70 cm. This is where the monitor is usually located, and the screen of a smartphone or e-reader is even closer. You can use different glasses for everyday life and work at the computer, or choose multifocal optics. nine0010
  4. Breaks and gymnastics. Even if you do not feel tired, it is undesirable to spend more than 2 hours in front of the monitor in sequence. Next, you need to take a break for 15-20 minutes, change activities, or do relaxing exercises for the eyes.

    Learn more