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What causes tired eyes?

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Man with tired eyes at a computer

Are my tired eyes due to eyestrain?

People often think tired and uncomfortable eyes are normal and that there is nothing that can help them. This is simply not the case. Nila, Optometrist, Cranford Opticians

Tired eyes happen when your eyes are in pain due to being overworked beyond their capacity. Eye fatigue occurs when the muscles in the eye fail to receive enough rest, hydration, and protection from harsh computer screen glare over long periods.

What are the symptoms?

Tired eyes generally appear watery, irritated and bloodshot. Other symptoms include:

  • Sore, burning or itching eyes

  • Dry eyes

  • Blurred or double vision

  • Increased sensitivity to light, called photophobia

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

  • Eye muscle twitching

Some people experience some of the above along with a headache and/or sore neck, back or shoulder pain. Usually tired eyes are not serious, and it goes away once you rest your eyes or take other steps to reduce your eye discomfort. Eyestrain is one of the most common causes, but what are the others?

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What causes tired eyes?

These are a common condition and can occur as the result of several factors including:

  • Digital eye strain due to looking at PC/digital devices screens or driving long distances

  • Lack of sleep

  • Emotional stress or fatigue

  • Dehydration

  • Bright light or glare exposure

  • Exposure to dry moving air from a fan, air conditioning or heating system

We are going to look at some of the main causes in full and offer eye care advice to prevent them from getting worse and treatment options.

Eye Strain

Causes: Eye strain occurs when the eyes are overworked, causing them to tire out more quickly. This is most commonly associated with computer use, primarily because that is where many people spend most of their day. People who look at screens two or more hours in a row every day have the greatest risk of this condition.

Solution: Generally, treatment for eyestrain consists of making changes in your daily habits and environment. For some people, wearing glasses that are prescribed for specific activities, such as for computer use or for reading, helps reduce eyestrain. Your optometrist will be able to advise you on the best option for you. They will also suggest that you take regular eye breaks to help your eyes focus on different distances before they feel tired.

Other tips to reduce eye strain include:

  • Dim lighting so that when watching television, the room is softly lit

  • Take regular breaks when reading or doing close work including looking away from the page, digital screen or task

  • Limit screen time – especially important for children who may not make the connection between eyestrain and the need to rest their eyes regularly

  • Eye drops that do not contain preservatives can be used as often as you need. If you use eye drops containing preservatives, you may develop a sensitivity to the preservative if you use the drops regularly. Your eye specialist can recommend which eye drops might be best for you.

  • Choose the right eyewear - if you need glasses or contacts and work at a computer, consider investing in glasses or contact lenses designed specifically for computer use like blue light blocking glasses. Ask your optometrist about lens coatings that might help too.

Dry Eyes

Causes: Dry eyes occur when the tear glands in the eyes are not producing enough tears or the quality of tears produced is poor. This can be caused by many things: extreme weather, wind, pollen, and just a lack of moisture in the air. The most common cause of this is from staring at a computer screen for long periods of time without adequate lubrication for the eyes known as Computer Vision Syndrome. The symptoms include eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches and neck pain.

Solution: Ask our Optician which eye drops will work best for you so you 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. You could also use a humidifier to increase the humidity in the air.

Lack of sleep

Causes: Sleep deprivation is also a common cause of tired eyes. The human body needs sleep to function properly. Most adults require 7-8 hours of sleep per night to get their full rest benefits. Getting less than that can result in chronic fatigue, which can give the appearance and feel of tired eyes.

Solution: While it may seem obvious, one of the best ways to combat this problem is to simply get more sleep. If you find yourself struggling with this, try keeping a record of how much sleep you are actually getting. Each night make an effort to go to bed 15 minutes earlier until you have reached the recommended amount.

How can we help?

The first step for relief from tired eyes is booking an appointment with one of our experienced opticians. We will look at your eyes and also if you wear glasses or contact lenses to work out how to get your eyes at their best again.

One customer described how his eyes had improved: “It is the difference between driving an old banger and a Rolls Royce. Now when I blink I don’t notice it and I am not rubbing my eyes all the time”

Call 020 8759 9395 if you want to discuss what causes tired eyes or any of our other services. Alternatively, you can book an eye test appointment online.

Ideally located near the Heathrow airport in the London Borough of Hounslow, Cranford Opticians can be easily reached from Twickenham, Feltham, Richmond , Teddington, Whitton, Hayes, Heston, Harlington, Southall, Staines, Ashford, Stanwell, Sunbury and many other areas in London and Surrey.

Find us at 742 Bath Road, Cranford, Hounslow, London, TW5 9TY. Street parking on The Avenue, High Street, Berkeley Avenue or Waye Avenue. Car parks available at the Ibis Budget London Heathrow Central (TW5 9SX) and DoubleTree Hilton by Hilton London Heathrow Airport (TW5 9QE). Please check for parking conditions.

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