There are many reasons why eyes can look and feel tired, including sleep deprivation, allergies, and too much time in front of a digital screen. Any of these can make your eyes appear bloodshot, puffy, swollen, irritated, or exhausted.
While the clear remedy for alleviating tired eyes is a good night’s rest, things like giving your eyes a break from screens and using an updated vision prescription can also offer relief. For all of you struggling to keep your eyes open, here are some tips to give your peepers some pep and rejuvenate your tired eyes.
1. Minimize Your Allergy Symptoms
Anyone who suffers from allergies knows they can turn your eyes into an itchy, watery mess. The reaction is caused by histamine, which is released when triggered by your individual allergen sensitivity. Histamine signals the dilation of blood vessels and sparks unforgiving itchiness in your nose and eyes that allergy sufferers know all too well.
The increased blood flow and itchiness caused by allergies result in swelling, which can leave your eyes looking puffy and fatigued. If you believe allergies are causing your eyes to look and feel tired, try taking an over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine to reduce your eye allergy symptoms.
For those with severe symptoms, try avoiding potential triggers during allergy season, such as working in the yard and opening windows in your home.
2. Give Your Eyes A Break From Screens
While technological and digital advancements have offered many benefits, the prevalence of screen use has taken a toll on our eyes. Incorporating both short and long breaks into your screen time can help relieve the symptoms of digital eye strain, such as dry and tired eyes.
The 20-20-20 rule is great for mini-breaks. Every 20 minutes of screen time, look up and stare at something 20 feet away from you (preferably not another screen) for 20 seconds. This 20-second pause gives the tiny muscles in your eyes a well-deserved rest.
Longer intervals where you get up and step away from your screen should be incorporated as well. Use each break as an opportunity to close your eyes while you stretch your legs, neck, and back. This will give your eyes a little power nap before they get back to staring at the screen.
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3. Alternate Warm And Cool Compresses
Who knew tired eyes and a sprained ankle could benefit from the same treatment? Alternating warm and cool compresses doesn’t just help the appearance of tired eyes, it’s relaxing and allows you to pamper yourself.
The heat from a warm compress relaxes strained and exhausted eye muscles, which makes tired eyes feel better. The chill of a cool compress increases blood flow to the eyes and reduces puffiness and swelling, which makes eyes appear more alert and awake.
While alternating warm and cool compresses is easy and effective for helping tired eyes, it’s only a temporary solution. You should try to pinpoint the underlying cause of your tired eyes and work toward a more permanent remedy.
4. Keep Your Eyes Hydrated
Dryness could be the culprit behind your drowsy-looking eyes. Dry eyes can happen on account of many things, including your diet, age, and the medications you take — all of which can make it difficult for your eyes to stay hydrated.
If you find that your eyes feel dry, the first thing you can try is to blink more, especially during screen time. Blinking is the eye’s natural way of keeping moist and clean, so blinking more frequently may help.
If blinking doesn’t do the trick, artificial tears can be a great source of relief and help your eyes look clearer and brighter. Not sure which eye drops will work best for you? Ask your eye doctor which brands they recommend and work from there.
Drinking plenty of water is a sure-fire way to hydrate your body and your eyes. Typically, when you’re dehydrated, the first place it’s shown is your eyes and your skin by reflecting a dull, exhausted appearance. Increasing your water intake not only improves your eyes, it improves your overall health.
5. Make Sure Your Prescription Is Up To Date
If it’s been a while since your last eye exam, there’s a good chance that an outdated prescription is making your eyes look and feel tired. For most people, vision changes over time — a three-year-old prescription may not work for your current corrective needs and, in turn, is straining your eyes.
It’s recommended that unless you have an underlying condition that requires more attention, you have a comprehensive eye exam every two years. An eye care professional will be able to evaluate your tired eyes and find a solution, either with an updated vision prescription or other recommendations.
If you haven’t needed glasses before, it’s possible your vision has changed — your eyes feel tired now because they need corrective lenses to see properly. The only way to find out is by scheduling a visit with an eye doctor.
TIME TO UPDATE YOUR VISION Rx? Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you.