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How do you rest your eyes after too much screen time?

In today’s digital world, most of us spend a significant amount of time looking at screens, whether it’s computers, smartphones, tablets, or TVs. While these devices help us stay connected and informed, too much screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and other symptoms of digital eye fatigue. Resting your eyes properly is important for maintaining healthy vision and preventing long-term damage. Here are some tips for giving your eyes a break after prolonged screen use.

Take Regular Breaks

One of the most effective ways to rest your eyes is to simply take regular breaks from looking at screens. Experts recommend following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away. This helps reduce eye fatigue by allowing your eye muscles to relax after sustained periods of close-up focus. Consider setting a timer or reminder on your devices to prompt you to take regular eye breaks throughout the day.

Blink Frequently

Blinking helps moisten your eyes and reduces dryness and irritation caused by infrequent blinking while using screens. Make an effort to blink frequently and completely while using digital devices. An normal blink rate is 15-20 blinks per minute, so use this as a benchmark. Consciously blinking can counteract the tendency to stare and not blink enough when visually concentrated on a task.

Use Artificial Tear Drops

Lubricating eye drops can provide relief if your eyes are feeling dry and irritated. Look for artificial tear drops that contain ingredients like polyethylene glycol or hydroxypropyl methylcellulose. Use them as needed while using screens or whenever your eyes feel dry and uncomfortable. Stopping to use eye drops can also serve as a good reminder to give your eyes a break.

Adjust Screen Settings

Adjusting the settings on your digital screens can help reduce eye fatigue. Here are some tips:

  • Set the screen brightness to a comfortable level. Too bright will cause glare and strain.
  • Increase text size for easier reading without squinting or leaning in.
  • Use night mode or dark mode settings to reduce blue light exposure.
  • Adjust the screen contrast for clearer text.
  • Position the screen 20-40 inches from your eyes.

Use Computer Glasses

Special computer glasses have lenses coated to block blue light and help reduce digital eye strain. The slight tint minimizes glare while still allowing sufficient light for screen use. Using prescription computer glasses tailored for close-up work can further aid eye comfort. Talk to an eye doctor about options.

Give Your Eyes a Break

When you’ve maxed out your screen time for the day, be sure to give your eyes a prolonged rest. Here are some relaxing eye break ideas:

  • Take a short nap or sleep to allow your eyes to fully recharge.
  • Go for an outdoor walk without any digital devices.
  • Sit outside in nature and enjoy the natural views.
  • Do some gentle eye yoga stretches and palming exercises.
  • Listen to music or an audiobook instead of watching TV or movies.

Moist Heat Compress

A warm, moist compress placed over your closed eyes can stimulate blood flow, relax the eye muscles, and soothe tired eyes. Dip a clean washcloth in warm water, wring out excess water, and place gently over your eyes for 5-10 minutes as needed to provide relief.

Cooling Eye Mask

For an extra soothing treat, place chilled eye masks or cucumber slices over your closed eyes. The cooling effect is calming for eye strain and fatigue. Keep some gel eye masks in the refrigerator and use as needed for an easy way to rest tired eyes.

Over-the-Counter Lubricating Ointments

Thicker ointments provide longer lasting relief for severely dry, irritated eyes. Look for ointments containing petroleum jelly or mineral oils. Apply a small amount along the edges of the upper and lower eyelids before bedtime. The ointment melting over the eye surface provides moisturizing relief as you sleep.

Healthy Diet

Your overall diet impacts eye health and strain. Be sure to eat a diet rich in eye-friendly nutrients like:

  • Vitamin C – citrus, berries, peppers
  • Vitamin E – nuts, seeds, olive oil
  • Vitamin A – eggs, milk, dark leafy greens
  • Lutein – spinach, kale, broccoli
  • Zeaxanthin – corn, squash, oranges
  • Zinc – seafood, meat, nuts
  • Omega-3s – fish, walnuts, chia seeds

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day as well.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine

Beverages like coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol can contribute to dehydration and dry eyes. Limit your intake of these to help minimize eye discomfort and fatigue.

Don’t Rub Your Eyes

Rubbing your eyes may provide temporary relief but can actually exacerbate irritation and damage the delicate skin around the eyes. Instead of rubbing, try rinsing eyes with cool water or applying a warm, moist compress.

Visit an Eye Doctor

If eye strain persists despite taking breaks and other measures, see an eye doctor. You may need an updated eyeglasses prescription, treatment for dry eye disease, or other solutions tailored to your situation.

Try Eye Relaxation Exercises

Gentle exercises can relax the eye muscles, improve focus, and reduce strain. Here are a few easy eye relaxation techniques to try:


Rub your palms together briskly to generate heat. Cup your warm palms gently over your closed eyes, without applying pressure. Breathe deeply and relax for 1-2 minutes.

Figure 8s

With your head still, trace imaginary figure 8s smoothly with your eyes. Blink normally as needed. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.

Pencil Push-ups

Hold a pencil 12 inches from your nose. Focus on the tip, then slowly bring it closer to your nose and back out again. Do 5-10 reps while keeping the pencil tip in focus.

Side-to-Side Saccades

Hold your finger up about 12-15 inches in front of your nose. Focus on your finger, then quickly shift your gaze as far left as possible. Bring your gaze slowly back to your finger, then quickly shift as far right as possible. Repeat 5-10 times.

Up-and-Down Saccades

Repeat the side-to-side exercise, but shifting your eyes up and down instead. Focus on your finger, then gaze up and down quickly 5-10 times.

When to See a Doctor

Consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you experience any of the following persistent symptoms:

  • Eye pain or headache
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Excessive tearing or discharge
  • Flashes of light or floaters
  • Difficulty focusing or frequent eyestrain

An eye doctor can assess your symptoms, provide personalized treatment recommendations, and check for any underlying eye conditions.

Home Remedies Summary Table

Remedy How It Helps How to Use
Eye drops Relieve dryness and irritation 1-2 drops in each eye as needed
Warm compress Stimulates blood flow, relaxes muscles 5-10 minutes over closed eyes
Cooling eye mask Soothes eye strain and fatigue 5-10 minutes over closed eyes
Eye ointment Provides moisturizing relief Apply along eyelids before bed
Eye massage Relaxes eye muscles Gently massage around eye sockets


Making a habit of resting your eyes after prolonged screen time is essential for maintaining healthy vision and comfortable eyes. Take regular breaks, adjust your screen settings, use artificial tears as needed, and try some relaxing eye exercises. Don’t forget the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away. Be sure to see an eye doctor promptly if symptoms persist. With some minor adjustments and awareness, you can keep your eyes feeling fresh despite daily technology use.