Have you ever felt like your eyeballs were going to fall out? That feeling when you’ve worked at a screen
for too long, and your eyes are just plain tired? That’s digital eyestrain.

As our work becomes increasingly virtual, we’re spending larger parts of our days behind screens, and this problem is becoming more common. Thankfully, there is hope.

Here are a few simple solutions for alleviating digital eyestrain – the best part, all of these solutions don’t cost anything!


The first common cause of digital eye strain is tension and fatigue. The solution to this is eye relaxation.

Two highly effective ways to relax your eyes are palming and eye massage.

How to do it:

  • Gently rub both palms together to generate some warmth.
  • Softly cup your right palm and place over your right eye socket, sealing the edges to no light enters.
  • Do not press directly on your eye.
  • Softly cup your left palm and place over your left eye socket, sealing all the edges.
  • If you are seated, rest your elbows on a tabletop or your lap.
  • Breathe softly in and out through your nose.
  • Relax in this position for at least 1 minute.

Why this works: Lights from screens over-excite our optic nerve, this can lead to fatigue. Palming gives
the optic nerve a chance to rest and chill for a minute.

Eye massage

How to do it:

  • Take 1-2 fingertips, place them on the inner corners of your eye sockets, right over the tear duct.
  • Press inward – feel that bony ridge? That’s your eye socket. Place your fingertip(s) in the squishy space between your eye socket and the eyeball. It might feel weird at first! That’s okay!
  • Gently massage the space between the bone and eye for about :05.
  • Next, move to the upper eye socket, right above the eye. Find the space between the bone and the eyeball. Press and gently massage for :05.
  • Move to the outer corners. Press and gently massage.
  • Finish with the lower eye socket, underneath the eye.

Why this works: The muscles around your eyes get tight when you stare at a screen for too long. Eye massage is a chance to help release some of that tension.

The second common cause of eye strain is poor screen visibility and environmental lighting. If you catch yourself straining, squinting or hunching over to see your screen, you may want to try adjusting your font size and screen brightness, and check your light sources.

Adjust font size and screen brightness

How to do it:

  • There are many settings in your laptop, tablets, and phones that adjust the screen brightness, contrast, and colors. Turn your screen brightness up (or down) as much as you need. Play around with the contrast. Try out “Night shift” and “Dark mode” on your iPhone.
  • On most devices, you can also change the font size. Your goal is ease of readability. Adjust your screen settings so you can read text comfortably, without straining.

Why this works: Eye strain is often caused by trying to see too much – ie squinting and staring. This builds excess tension. Making fonts easier to read allows your eyes to relax!

Adjust light sources

How to do it:

  • Take a look around your workspace.
  • Notice your light sources.
  • Where are they located? Are they natural (sunlight), incandescent, fluorescent, LED, halogen? Are they causing screen glare? Are they shining in your eyes?

You want your work environment to be bright enough that you can see comfortably without straining, but not so bright that it hurts your eyes. We each have different light tolerances, so this “sweet spot” will be different for everyone.

Why this works: Lighting affects how easily we see. We often subconsciously strain to see in low lighting conditions. Fluorescent overhead lights can be harsh on our eyes. Bright lighting from behind often causes screen glare. Adjusting your lights to minimize glare and maximize visibility reduces the need to strain.

The final is cause of eyestrain is being sedentary. The solution for this is simple: moving and stretching
your body – and your eyes!

Move your body

How to do it:

  • Stand up, bend sideways, reach overhead, wave your arms around.
  • You’re only limited by your time and creativity: Go for a walk, do a quick workout, do a set of jumping jacks or a few sun salutations.
  • Move whatever way feels good for you.

Why this works: Physical movement gets your blood flowing – this includes blood flow to the eyes! Blood carries important nutrients to nourish the eyes.

Move your eyes

How to do it:

  • Look at something to the right of your screen, then look at something to your left.
  • Look at something above your screen, and gaze at something in the distance.
  • Turn around and look behind you.
  • Observe your environment and allow your eyes to wander.

Why this works: When we sit and stare at a phone or computer for hours at a time, our eyes get locked into one position. This is similar to when your hips get tight and achy after sitting in a car for a couple hours. Eye muscles need to move and stretch, just like muscles in the rest of your body!

Get some natural light

Finally, a bonus tip: get some natural light, take a break from screens and go outside.

Full-spectrum sunlight is like food for your eyes. It nourishes the retina, keeps your eyes healthy, and helps your circadian rhythm (which helps with energy!).

Stand in the sun without sunglasses for up to 2-5 minutes a day.

If you can’t get outside, open the curtains or blinds, allow natural light to enter your workspace.

Alleviating digital eyestrain is simple, it often just requires awareness and willingness to change your
habits. Try out each of the simple solutions listed above, and figure out which gives you the most relief.

Enjoy your newly relaxed eyes!

Want more? Find our Instagram Live Combatting Digital Eye Strain with Julie here.

Blog post written by Pangea Dreams Bali Retreat Alumni Julie Briggs. Find her on Instagram: @itsjulieb_