Soothe Tired Eyes

My eyes feel tired and my vision occasionally blurs. I think I'm staring at my computer screen or reading too much. Can eyebright or other herbs help?

LAUREL VUKOVIC REPLIES: You're probably right about your symptoms being caused by excessive computer work or reading. Staring at any object less than 3 feet away can cause eyestrain, or tired eyes. The herb eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) is a good solution; its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties will soothe your tired eyes. Apply a cool compress made with eyebright tea once or twice a day after work. To make the tea, pour 3 cups of boiling water over 6 teaspoons of the dried herb. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a paper coffee filter to remove all herb particles, and chill in a covered container in the refrigerator (the tea keeps for up to three days when refrigerated). To use as a compress, dip an entire washcloth in the thoroughly chilled tea until soaked. Wring out excess moisture, and place over your closed eyes for 15 minutes.

For another herbal remedy, store used chamomile tea bags (Matricaria recutita) in the refrigerator for up to five days. When your eyes feel tired, take out the tea bags and place them over your eyes for 10 minutes. (If you don't regularly drink chamomile tea, you can simply dampen a few bags and store them in the refrigerator.) Discard the tea bags after you use them on your eyes.

You can prevent eyestrain by frequently resting your eyes when you're working at the computer or reading a book. For several seconds every few minutes, look away from your computer or book at an object that's outside your window or across the room.

PHOTO (COLOR): Eyebright relieves eye inflammation.

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