Find easy relief for eye strain

It happens to all of us, tired eyes that feel like half of the Simpson Desert has moved into our eye sockets.

Too much screen time, allergies, long-distance driving, weather, dry eye syndrome, too much light or not enough, all of these everyday things can leave you squinting or suffering from eye strain.

Symptoms of eye strain include sore, tired or burning eyes; watery eyes; blurred or double vision; headaches; sore neck, shoulders or back; difficulty concentrating and feeling you cannot keep your eyes open.

Read: Older Australians underestimating shingles risk

Thankfully, it is a relatively easy condition to handle, but of course if it deteriorates or does not respond to these self-care steps, please see your doctor.

If you are suffering from scratchy eyes, try our tips to get back to normal.

Take a break

Whether it’s too much screen time, too much driving or even just time in the sun, if your eyes are feeling the strain, take a break. It could be as simple as closing your eyes for five minutes, or removing yourself from the environment.

Face washer to the rescue

Put a warm or cold, depending on how you are feeling, moist face washer over your eyes for five to 10 minutes, pressing gently.

Read: New pill could prevent repeat of thunderstorm asthma

To a tea

You might also try moist tea bags or coffee bags on your eyes. Sounds odd, but the caffeine in tea and coffee can act as a stimulus as well as a soothing way to reduce swelling under your eyes.

A bit of experimentation might be needed to find the right brew. Chamomile, lavender, green and rooibos teas are all good varieties to try and, once again, try the bags out hot or cold to see what works best for you.

Let them sit for 10 to 30 minutes.

I find cold, plain black tea bags on itchy, hay fever affected eyes works a treat, and if nothing else it gives me an excuse to have a bit of a lie-down.

Light of mine

If you suspect artificial light is the culprit for your eye strain, it can be as simple as turning the lights down or off, or readjusting the direction of the light.

Computer screens often adjust to the surrounding light. A few tweaks on the preferences should easily change the light settings to a more suitable level.

However, if it’s in an environment where that’s unavoidable, such as work or in public, try to minimise your exposure.

Change it up

If you find you are regularly suffering from eye strain while using your computer, then maybe it’s time to reassess your setup.

Ideally the screen should be about an arm’s length away, or at least 50 centimetres, and the centre of the screen should be slightly below – about 10–15 centimetres – eye level.

Adjust the text size if you have to squint to read it and if you regularly work with paper documents at the same time, consider a document holder next to the monitor so you are not constantly looking between the two.

Read: Seven worst foods for constipation


If you are using computer screens a lot and wear glasses, next time you have your eye check-up ask your optometrist for anti-glare lenses.

Thanks to modern technology, anti-reflective coatings can eliminate almost all reflection of light from your glasses. Bonus points, it can also help night driving.

Improve the air quality

Dry eyes are tired eyes. If it’s a serious issue, consider investing in a humidifier. If that’s too much expense, keep open bowls of water about the place – especially good on heating vents – or even just boiling a kettle can help.

If that all sounds a bit boring, other alternatives include indoor plants, a fish tank, flower arrangements and showering with the door open.


Over-the-counter eye drops are simple, easy and cheap. But if you feel your eyes becoming dry, a few rapid blinks can easily get them back on track.

Do you suffer from dry eyes or eye strain? What are your sure-fire tricks for relief? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -