Understand the main cause of eyestrain: blinking (or really, not blinking enough).
We blink less when we focus intently on something like a computer screen. Instead of blinking 15 times a minute, we'll do so 12 or 10 times, which dries out our eyes. This isn't just a computer problem either — focusing on books or magazines can cause the exact same symptoms.
"Over the course of the day if [cornea cells] dry out beyond a certain point, they can't recover," says Dr. Richard Rosen, director of retina services at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai and ophthalmology research director at the Icahn School of Medicine. "Not until they're replaced overnight will you feel comfortable."
Try to keep your eyes moist.
It's hard to remember to blink when you're focusing intently, but it's worth making an effort.
Artificial tears, or eye drops, can also help keep your eyes feel refreshed throughout the day. If you're in a particularly dry environment, a humidifier may help as well.
Give your eyes a break with the 20-20-20 rule.
To give your eyes a break from that intense, eye-drying focus, you can follow a simple rule, according to Khurana. Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. That'll allow your eyes to rest and give yourself a little time to blink normally.
Avoid screen glare and set up your lighting properly.
Glare from your screen can increase the strain on your eyes. They'll also have a hard time adjusting if the light on your screen is much brighter (or dimmer) than the surrounding light.
To fix this, try to make sure that screen brightness is on a level similar to that of the room you're in. And if glare is a particular issue, consider a matte screen.
Know that contacts can dry out your eyes even more.
If you wear contacts, know that they can make dryness and eye irritation caused by long periods of focus worse, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Eye Smart site. Consider wearing glasses occasionally instead — and don't sleep wearing your contacts.
If you are having real trouble, see an eye doctor.
If you are consistently experiencing serious eye trouble — blurriness, redness, discharge, or sensitivity — don't assume that it's just eye strain. See an eye doctor in case there's something else that's wrong. For most eye diseases, catching problems early makes it easier to intervene and treat them. And don't assume that computer glasses of some sort will automatically solve any problems.
"I wouldn't recommend patients use any special type of computer glasses except glasses to correct their refractive errors," says Khurana. If you are having trouble, see an ophthalmologist or optometrist.