Tired eyes: symptoms, treatments and causes
Tired eyes can have many different causes, including lack of sleep, overuse and reduced blinking.
When we concentrate on a task, we tend to blink less. As blinking refreshes and moistens the eyes, they become dry and tired without it. Symptoms of tired eyes include soreness, red eyes and blurry vision.
What causes tired eyes?
There are various reasons why your eyes might feel tired. Prolonged smartphone or computer use is a growing problem, leading to reduced blinking and a common condition known as computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain (Source: BMJ).
Other common causes of eye fatigue include:
Tired eyes symptoms
If you start getting symptoms of eye fatigue, like dry eyes, irritation or itching, your eyes need a break.
Signs of eye fatigue to look out for include:
Tired eyes remedy
Tired eyes are usually nothing serious, and the best remedy is to rest your eyes, either by getting more sleep or taking regular breaks from focused tasks and digital devices.
If resting your eyes doesn't help, speak to your GP or optometrist, as your symptoms could be a sign of something more serious.
How to relieve tired eyes
The most effective way to relieve tired eyes is to rest. However, if you can't take a break or stop a task, there are ways you can help to soothe tired eyes at home or work.
Blurry or double vision when tired
As your eyes become tired, they can struggle to focus on objects, and you may experience blurry or double vision. Long periods of looking at a digital screen can cause computer vision syndrome (digital eye strain), characterised by eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, headaches and blurry vision (Source: BMJ). These symptoms should ease with rest.
Blurry or double vision may be a sign of a more serious medical or eye problem, so you should see your optometrist if it persists.
Frequently asked questions
Tired eyes are usually nothing serious and should ease with rest and sleep. Prolonged focused work and smartphone or computer use can reduce blinking and cause tired eyes.
Getting enough sleep and taking regular breaks from screens can help you maintain good eye health and avoid eye fatigue.
Medically reviewed by: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists on 28/07/2022
Edited by: Nick Astbury FRCS FRCOphth FRCP
Clinical Associate Professor
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists champions excellence in the practice of ophthalmology and is the only professional membership body for medically qualified ophthalmologists. The RCOphth is unable to offer direct advice to patients. If you’re concerned about the health of your eyes, you should seek medical advice from your GP, optometrist or ophthalmologist.