With the amount of time we spend staring at screens in today’s digital world, eye strain has become an increasingly common problem. Taking breaks to rest your eyes is important for maintaining healthy vision and preventing eyestrain or fatigue. Luckily, there are many simple and effective ways to give your eyes a break without having to stop working or enjoying screen time. Read on to learn natural tips and tricks for resting your tired peepers.
Why is it important to rest your eyes?
Resting your eyes is crucial for several reasons:
- Prevents eyestrain – Staring at screens or focusing on close tasks can cause eye muscles to work overtime and get fatigued. Taking regular breaks prevents strain.
- Reduces headaches – Eyestrain is a common cause of headaches. Resting eyes can provide headache relief.
- Decreases dry eyes – Intense visual concentration can reduce blinking, leading to dry eyes. More blinking and less staring helps keep eyes lubricated.
- Avoids eye irritation – Tired eyes may feel irritated, gritty, or watery. Rest allows irritation to subside.
- Maintains vision – Letting eyes recharge helps maintain healthy eyesight and prevent vision problems from excessive strain.
Making eye rest part of your daily routine will keep your peepers feeling fresh and prevent the chance of short and long-term damage from eye fatigue.
How often should I rest my eyes?
There are no definitive guidelines on how often to take eye rests, since needs can vary greatly based on your visual demands. However, many experts recommend following the 20-20-20 rule:
- Every 20 minutes, take at least 20 seconds and look away from your screen at something 20 feet away.
This simple practice of taking regular eye breaks can make a big difference in preventing eyestrain. Some additional general guidelines include:
- Take a break every 30 minutes to an hour when doing intensive near-work.
- Take 15 minutes of eye rest for every 2 hours of computer use.
- When reading, rest eyes for 10 minutes after every 50 minutes of reading.
Listen to your eyes and take more frequent and longer breaks if you feel strain or fatigue setting in. Getting into the routine of regular eye rests will help maintain comfortable, healthy vision.
How do I rest my eyes effectively?
Here are some simple and effective ways to give your eyes a break:
1. Palm your eyes
Cup your palms gently over your closed eyes, blocking out all light. Don’t press on your eyelids. Rest like this for 30-60 seconds as you continue to breathe deeply. The darkness allows your eye muscles to fully relax.
2. Look into the distance
Gaze out the window or across the room to give your eyes a change of focus. Looking at something 20 feet or further away for 20 seconds relieves the strain of near-focus tasks.
3. Roll your eyes
Slowly roll your eyes clockwise and counterclockwise. Rolling eyes in each direction for 10 circles can reduce eyestrain.
4. Splash with cold water
Rinse your closed eyes with a splash of cool water to instantly wake up tired eyes and stimulate blood circulation.
5. Massage around eyes
Use your ring fingers to gently massage around the bone of your eye sockets. Massaging for 30 seconds can ease strain in eye muscles.
6. Take a screen break
Make sure to look away from your screen completely when taking eye rests. Your eyes need a total break from pixel-staring. Change your focus to something far away or give your eyes a shut-eye session.
7. Blink frequently
Make an effort to blink often, at least every 2-4 seconds. Frequent blinking washes eyes with naturally therapeutic tears and prevents dryness and irritation.
8. Adjust lighting and screens
Ensure you have adequate lighting and reduce screen glare to minimize eyestrain. Adjust screen settings for proper brightness and text size as well.
There are also special computer glasses designed to filter blue light and reduce digital eye strain. Consider trying a pair if you spend many hours a day staring at screens.
What eye rest techniques can I do at my desk?
You don’t have to stop working completely to give your eyes a break. Use these techniques that can be done right at your desk:
- Look out the window – Gaze at a distant tree, building or sky for 20 seconds.
- Close your eyes – Rest eyes in darkness for 20 seconds.
- Do shoulder rolls – Relax your eyes while rotating shoulders to reduce overall tension.
- Stretch your body – Stand and do neck rolls or back and arm stretches while glancing around the room.
- Adjust your lighting – Move a desk lamp or adjust overhead lighting to reduce glare.
- Blink rapidly – Blink as fast as you can for 20 seconds to moisten eyes.
Getting into the habit of incorporating these simple techniques during your workday is a great way to give your eyes frequent recharging breaks.
Which eye rest methods are most effective?
The most effective eye rest techniques are those that allow your visual system to fully recharge and recover. Here are some top options:
- Palming – Covering eyes with palms provides full darkness and relaxation for eye muscles.
- 20-20-20 rule – Looking 20 feet away gives eyes a focal break every 20 minutes.
- Eye massage – Massaging around the eyes stimulates blood flow to reduce strain.
- Cold water – Splashing eyes with cool water instantly re-energizes tired peepers.
- Eye drops – Lubricating drops can provide moisture relief for dry, strained eyes.
The most beneficial approach is to incorporate a variety of techniques throughout your day. Switching up how you give your eyes a break keeps the benefits fresh.
How can I remember to rest my eyes?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your work and digital devices and forget to rest your eyes. Here are handy ways to remember:
- Set phone reminders – Schedule regular alerts telling you to give your eyes a break.
- Use apps – Download apps that remind you to follow the 20-20-20 rule.
- Post visual reminders – Stick notes on your computer as eye rest reminders.
- Take hand breaks – When you stop typing to shake out your hands, rest your eyes too.
- Drink water – Keep a water bottle on your desk. Each sip is a cue for an eye break.
- Notice eye discomfort – Listen to signals from your eyes like fatigue or dryness as reminders.
Having visual cues and reminders in place makes it much easier to establish the habit of regular eye rests. Your eyes will thank you!
What household items can I use to rest my eyes?
You can improvise with ordinary household objects to create handy eye rests:
- Cucumbers – Place chilled cucumber slices over closed eyes to soothe and hydrate.
- Teabags – Used teabags from the fridge provide a soothing compress for tired eyes.
- Rosewater – Soak cotton pads in rosewater and apply to closed lids for a refreshing pick-me-up.
- Sliced potatoes – The starch in raw potato slices can reduce puffiness and irritation.
- Ice cubes – Hold an ice cube against each closed eyelid to constrict blood vessels and decrease swelling.
Be creative and try different common household staples to give your eyes some natural TLC.
Should I wear an eye mask while resting my eyes?
Yes, an eye mask is an excellent way to rest your eyes. The soothing darkness allows eye muscles to fully relax and recharge. Benefits include:
- Blocks out all light – Unlike using your hands or closing eyes, a mask provides complete darkness.
- Convenient – You can rest your eyes anywhere while wearing an eye mask.
- Relaxing – The gentle compression can relieve strained eyes.
- Portable – Masks are compact and easy to carry in a purse or bag.
- Affordable – Quality eye masks can be purchased inexpensively.
Aim for an eye mask made of soft, comfy fabric with an adjustable strap to block light. Use your mask for power naps, meditation, headaches or eyestrain relief. Keep an eye mask handy by your computer or packed in your carry-on bag to rest eyes anytime, anywhere.
Which foods are good for resting eyes?
Your diet can impact the health and comfort of your eyes. Include these beneficial eye-friendly foods:
- Omega-3s – Found in fish, chia and flaxseeds. Reduce dry eyes and inflammation.
- Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, peppers and broccoli help build eye tissue and blood vessels.
- Vitamin E – Nuts, seeds and oils boost circulation and provide antioxidant support.
- Beta-carotene – Carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach convert to vitamin A to maintain eyesight.
- Zinc – Oysters and beans help transport vitamin A to eye tissues.
- Lutein – Kale and eggs help filter blue light and absorb free radicals.
A diet rich in eye-nourishing foods provides daily support forrested, comfortable eyes.
Can eye exercises help rest my eyes?
Yes, eye exercises can be an excellent way to give your peepers a break and combat eye strain. Beneficial eye exercises include:
- Palming – Rub hands together briskly then cover eyes to provide warming, soothing darkness.
- Figure eights – Slowly trace the shape of an eight with your eyes to flex eye muscles.
- Pencil push-ups – Hold a pencil at arm’s length, focus on tip, then slowly bring pencil closer and further as you gaze.
- Up and down – Look up to the ceiling, then down to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
- Side to side – Look left, hold 5 seconds, look right, hold 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Aim for 2 minutes of eye exercises every hour while working to give your eyes a screen break and toned, rested focus muscles.
When should I see an eye doctor about eye fatigue?
Most episodes of tired eyes can be alleviated with frequent rests and eye relief tips. See an optometrist or ophthalmologist right away if you experience:
- Eye pain or redness
- Constant eye discomfort
- Inflammation or discharge
- Flashing lights or floaters
- Light sensitivity
- Headaches or dizziness
- Blurred or double vision
- Difficulty reading or doing near work
These more serious symptoms could signal an underlying eye condition or vision problem needing professional care. Eye doctors can address the issue and check your eyes for any worrisome changes.
Can digital eye strain cause permanent damage?
With proper eye care, most digital eye strain does not cause permanent damage. However, ongoing excessive strain can contribute to declining eye health over time. Potential long-term consequences include:
- Myopia – Nearsighted vision may progress faster.
- Presbyopia – Loss of reading vision can worsen.
- Eye muscle imbalance – Can increase risk of double vision.
- Retinal damage – From oxidative stress of blue light exposure.
- Dry eye disease – Visual focus reduces blinking, causing dryness.
Practicing good screen habits and giving your eyes frequent rests and breaks can help minimize risk of permanent vision changes from digital eye strain.
Eye strain and fatigue are common in our screen-centered world, but they can be prevented by making eye rests a regular habit. Listening to your eyes and taking brief, frequent breaks to relax your visual system throughout the day will keep your peepers refreshed and healthy. Incorporating a variety of easy eye relief techniques like palming, eye exercises, diet and eye masks helps maximize the benefits and avoid both short and long-term damage from eyestrain. Make eye care a priority and your eyes will thank you by staying comfortably focused.