Why do my eyes feel tired?

Trying to get on with your everyday tasks and responsibilities can be difficult when you have irritating symptoms such as tired eyes. It can make it hard to concentrate even on things you enjoy such as a novel or a TV show – and it’s not always easy to know what is causing the problem.

Below, we look at a range of causes of tired eyes to help you tackle your symptoms.

Why are my eyes so tired?

Associated with a variety of symptoms from irritation to blurred vision, tired eyes can really put a dampener on your day. Usually, your eyes start to feel tired and heavy-lidded when you have, in one way or another, overused or strained them. Tired eyes can often feel similar to eye strain, and it may be that tackling the problem of eye strain helps to relieve the feeling of tired eyes.

When we talk about overusing your eyes, this can mean one of two things. One of those options is that you’ve used your eyes intensely. For example, you might have been reading very small text or you strained your eyes by not putting the light on when it got dark. Alternatively, you might have spent all day using computer screens for your job or studies. Any activity which causes you to blink less often – which naturally happens when you concentrate on a task – can cause tired eye symptoms, even if it’s something you do every day.

The second option is where your eyes become tired not because you’ve overused them, but because you haven’t given them enough recovery time. This can happen if you’ve not been sleeping well, as your eyes use that overnight time to rehydrate and repair themselves while your eyes are closed. Because of this, it may be helpful to lie with your eyes closed even if you’re struggling to sleep, as this could reduce your symptoms compared to if you got up and distracted yourself with household tasks.

If you’re sleeping well, then it may be that you’re missing out on other opportunities to rest your eyes. It’s recommended that you should take regular breaks when using screens, reading or doing other close work so that your eyes can readjust. Think of it as being similar to sitting down in a chair. It’s not necessarily bad to sit down, but if you don’t take breaks to stand up regularly over the course of the day, it could affect your health.

Tired eyes can often be mistaken for general fatigue, which can sometimes make it difficult to know what to do to solve the problem. Next time you reach for a cup of coffee to wake yourself up, consider whether your body feels tired or whether it’s just your eyes. Using eye drops to fix this problem instead of opting for coffee every time you have tired eyes could help you to cut down on your overall caffeine intake as well as relieving the symptoms quicker.

What are tired eyes a sign of?

Although tired eyes are often linked to your recent behaviours such as those described above, the problem can also be caused by other eye conditions. For example, dry eye syndrome can cause tiredness alongside other shared symptoms such as irritation, redness and a heavy feeling to the eyes.

Another condition that can cause tired eyes is allergies. Whether you have a common seasonal allergy such as hay fever or an allergy that is caused by a more easily avoidable stimulus such as pet fur, one of the symptoms of an allergic reaction can be tired, irritated eyes. If this is the case for you, you might find that taking mild anti-allergy medications such as antihistamines helps to reduce the symptoms.

As we’ve mentioned above, tired eyes can feel very similar to eye strain and it’s true to say that eye strain may be what’s causing your tired eye symptoms. Therefore, tackling the root causes of your eye strain might help to alleviate your tired eyes – as well as potentially reducing other irritating symptoms.

Whether you’re uncertain of the cause of your tired eyes or other methods of treatment haven’t worked, consider trying eye drops to help with your symptoms. Tired eyes are often caused by a lack of blinking or a lack of sleep, both of which lead to the dehydration of your eyes. Eye drops such as TheraTears® Dry or Tired Eye Drops use hyaluronic acid to help rehydrate your eyes, restoring a layer of moisture to soothe those feelings of irritation.

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Author

Dr Simon Cooper

Dr Simon Cooper

Working with the TheraTears marketing team, as well as with a number of other Prestige Brands, Dr Simon Cooper brings extensive knowledge and experience in a number of key areas. With a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, and before that a BA in biological sciences from the University of Oxford, he brings immense technical expertise.

In a healthcare career stretching over a quarter of a century, he has developed formulations for projects such as Nurofen and Strepsils. He has also worked for Boots in a variety of roles and has served as an adviser to many other healthcare brands worldwide.

In addition to his science and healthcare knowledge and experience, Dr Cooper brings skills in a plethora of other areas to his professional roles. These include marketing and advertising, big data, augmented intelligence, retail, and equality and diversity.

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