How to Soothe Your Eyes and Relieve Eyestrain

woman sleeping with cucumbers on eyes

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Soothing your eyes can bring quick relief during a bout of eyestrain. A big part of preventing strain is simple: take breaks from what you're staring at for long periods. Stay hydrated, and make sure you're blinking enough to keep your eyes refreshed. If you have to stare at a screen for a long time uninterrupted, you can wear glare-cutting glasses or install glare-cutting devices on your monitor. If you're driving for long stretches, wear sunglasses with UV protection to help prevent strain.

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Sleeping always relaxes the eyes. If that is not practical, closing your eyes and resting for five minutes can help. At night, even if you have contacts that you can sleep in, you shouldn't. They will dry your eyes out to some degree and stress your eyes even while sleeping.

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Dim Harsh Lighting and Glare

Lower your surrounding light levels or move into the shade. If you have eyestrain from staring at a computer screen, use blinds or shades to lower sunlight glare on the monitor, and adjust lights above and behind you to not shine directly on the computer screen. Don't place your computer monitor right in front of a white wall, which just adds to the glare coming at you.

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Cold Water

Splash your face with cold water. Try extremely cold water with ice cubes if you can stand it. Splash it on your face and back of your neck for three to seven minutes. If you can, put on a cold compress or an eye mask that you keep in the refrigerator or freezer.

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Steaming Towel

If cold water does not work, try a steaming towel just like you get during a facial. Put warm water in a bowl and immerse a washcloth in it. Wring out the cloth so it's not dripping all over, and place it over your closed eyes. Don't make the water boiling hot. A warm cloth prepared with menthol or eucalyptus oil can be quite refreshing.

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Tea Bags and Cucumber Slices

Beauty regimens such as placing tea bags or cucumber slices on your eyelids do help soothe them. A cold compress is more effective and less cumbersome, however, and there is less risk of foreign elements getting into your eyes.

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Stay Hydrated

If you're not getting enough water during the day, your eyes and the skin around them can become inflamed. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated and sweetened drinks. Good hydration is the key to good health, and lack of fluid in your body can strain everything. 

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Lubricate Your Eyes

Keep your eyes lubricated. Staying hydrated is the first step, but for temporary help, use artificial tears, not eye drops. If you have a more chronic condition, consult your optician. You can also discuss taking flaxseed oil with your doctor; it may provide dry eye relief over time.

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Don't Stare at the Same Distance for Long Periods

If your eyestrain is caused by staring at something close for too long, follow the 20-20-20 adage. Every 20 minutes focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 

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Stretch Your Neck

Do some neck stretches with your eyes closed. Eyestrain is usually coupled with a neck strain, and relieving one will help the other. It will also increase blood flow, which helps everything.

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Massage Your Face

Give yourself a quick facial massage. Rub your cheekbones, your forehead, and your temples. Much like the neck stretches, it will increase blood flow and relax surrounding muscle groups.

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Your Citation
Adams, Chris. "How to Soothe Your Eyes and Relieve Eyestrain." ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2021, Adams, Chris. (2021, September 8). How to Soothe Your Eyes and Relieve Eyestrain. Retrieved from Adams, Chris. "How to Soothe Your Eyes and Relieve Eyestrain." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).