Eye strain is a common problem today. It can happen for a number of reasons. Some common causes are lack of sleep, staring at digital devices for long stretches of time, reading in low light for a long time without taking a break, allergies, incorrect vision prescription, exposure to bright light and some kind of eye problem.
Eye strain can cause a lot of discomfort. Some of the symptoms are
• Redness or irritation,
• Difficulty focusing,
• Dry or watery eyes,
• Blurred or double vision,
• Increased sensitivity to light,
• Headaches and
• Pain in the neck shoulders or back.
Though there are many over-the-counter eye drops and medicines that can offer help, there are also many natural ways to alleviate eye strain.
1. Eye Massage –
To reduce eye strain, gently massage your eyelids daily. It will improve blood circulation to the eyes and also relax the muscles around your eyes. At the same time, it will stimulate the tear glands, which will help prevent dry eyes.
• Use your fingers to gently massage your eyelids and muscles above the eyebrows for about 10 to 20 seconds.
• Gently massage your lower eyelid against the lower bone for about 10 to 20 seconds.
• Massage the temple and upper cheek bones, also.
• Do this 1 or 2 times daily.
2. Palming –
Palming is great to relax strained eyes, especially while reading or spending too much time in front of your desktop, laptop or television screen. The main goal of palming is to create a restful state for your eyes so they do not become tired.
• Sit up straight in a comfortable position.
• Warm your hands by rubbing them together rapidly.
• Close your eyes and place your warm palms over them, without applying pressure on the eyelids.
• Relax and enjoy the darkness for about 30 seconds.
• Slowly open your eyes and look around.
• Repeat the process 3 to 5 times at a sitting.
• Follow this technique frequently throughout the day
3. Sunning –
Sunning is another beneficial technique to relax strained and tired eyes. The vital life energies of Sun are good for your eyes. Sunning also will help your body produce vitamin D, which is important for your overall health. To avoid tanning, do your sunning between 8a.m. and 10a.m.
• Stand in a sunny place in the early morning.
• Close your eyes and allow the sunlight to fall on your eyelids.
• Feel the warmth on your eyes and slowly move your eyes up and down, right to left and clockwise and counter-clockwise.
• Repeat this process for a total of 5 minutes.
• Follow it with palming.
• Do this once daily.
4. Eye Exercises –
Regular eye exercises can alleviate eye strain. Exercise will improve blood circulation to the eyes, make the eye muscles more flexible, and improve focus and concentration.
• Hold a pen or pencil at an arm’s length and focus on it. Slowly bring the object closer to your eyes, as long as you can focus on it clearly. Then move the object farther from your vision. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
• Also, roll your eyes in clockwise and counter-clockwise directions for a few seconds. Take a break and blink your eyes. Repeat 4 or 5 times consecutively. Do this exercise every few hours.
5. Cold Water –-
Cold water can also be very effective in relieving mild eye strain. It can improve blood circulation, relax tired muscles around your eyes, and reduce eye swelling and puffiness.
• Splash some cold water on your face and closed eyes whenever your eyes feel strained or tired. It will have a quick relaxing impact on your eyes.
• For a more concentrated remedy, dip a soft washcloth in cold water and wring out the extra moisture. Place the cold washcloth on your closed eyelids for 1 minute. Repeat as needed.
• If you have puffiness along with strained eyes, use a cold compress. Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth. Place it on your closed eyelids. The puffiness will decrease after 5 to 10 minutes of application.
6. Warm Compress –
A warm compress is another way to reduce eye strain. It will relax the muscles around your eyes, reduce strain and soothe dry eyes.
• Dip a soft cloth in warm water and wring out the excess moisture.
• Lie down comfortably, close your eyes and place the warm towel over your eyelids.
• Relax and breathe slowly for 1 minute.
• Change the washcloth and repeat the process 3 or 4 times.
• Follow this treatment 1 or 2 times daily.
7. Rose Water –
Rose water works as a natural relaxer for strained and tired eyes. It has a very soothing effect. Plus, it can rejuvenate the skin around the eyes as well as fade dark circles and eye puffiness.
• Splash your eyes with some cold water and pat dry with a clean towel.
• Dip 2 cotton balls in rose water.
• Lie down, close your eyes and place the wet cotton balls over your eyes.
• Do this twice daily.
8. Cucumber –
Cucumber slices can also help get rid of eye strain quickly. Due to its astringent properties, potato helps soothe the tired muscles around your eyes. It can even help reduce under-eye puffiness and dark circles.
• Cool a medium-side cucumber in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
• Cut it into thick slices and put them on your tired eyes.
• Follow this remedy 1 or 2 times daily.
9. Whole Milk –
Whole milk is also a popular way to reduce eye strain. The fat in whole milk is very soothing and relaxing for tired eyes. At the same time, milk can be effective in reducing eye irritation and puffiness.
• Dip a cotton ball in cold milk.
• Gently rub it around your eyes and over your closed eyelids for a few minutes.
• Try to relax and soon the cooling effect of the milk will do its trick.
• Do this once daily or as needed.
Additional Tips —
- For every 20 minutes that you spend near a screen, stare at an object 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
- Place your computer and laptop screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level.
- Avoid using too much eye cosmetics during eye strain.
- Wear sunglasses when going out in the sun during the day.
- Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
- To help prevent dry eyes while working indoors, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Get enough sleep as sleep deprivation can contribute to more frequent eye strain.
- Blink often to keep the eyes moist and healthy.
- Follow a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Consider taking vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements for overall eye health.
- Drink plenty of water to help reduce eye strain.
- Get your eyes checked regularly by a specialist to make sure your eyes are healthy.
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.