Home » Eyestrain 101: Symptoms, Causes, and Tips for Prevention

Eyestrain 101: Symptoms, Causes, and Tips for Prevention

Eyestrain is becoming common during this digital era due to staring at smartphones, tablets, and computers. According to the American Optometric Association, it is better known as the digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. Once you focus on an activity intensely, such as driving for long hours, your eyes become irritated or fatigued. However, once you take steps towards reducing the discomfort or give them a rest, the eyestrain goes away.

Here are some of the symptoms, causes, and tips for preventing eye strain.

Causes

The main cause of eyestrain is focusing your eyes intensely during a task. Some of these tasks include:

  • Reading
  • Frequent use of digital screens
  • Driving for extended periods
  • Long periods of detailed work like writing and sewing
  • Exposure to dry air moving from air-conditioning or heating system and a fan.

According to researchers, when you’re using a digital screen, be it a laptop or smartphone, you blink less. Ultimately, your eyes become dry, contributing to eyestrain. The glare from digital devices or poor contrast between the text and background also contributes to eyestrain. Also, eyestrain will result from viewing digital screens at improper angles and distances.

You stand a greater risk of experiencing eye strain if you have preceding eye conditions like muscle imbalance or uncorrected vision. Eyestrain refers to tired eyes, especially if you’re working for long hours. However, performing these activities where the light is dim intensifies the eyestrain.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms that you will experience from eye strain include:

  • Blurry or double vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • Sore and itchy eyes
  • Watery, red, or dry eyes
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Trouble focusing

Tips for Prevention

If you’re struggling with eyestrain, apply the following tips.

Choose proper eyewear

Consult with your optician to determine if you require special eyewear to ease the eyestrain. If you’re frequently using digital devices, consider getting blue light blocking glasses or contact lenses for computer work. However, you may require reducing the time you wear contact lenses to give your eyes some rest.

Apply the 20-20-20 rule

Eye strain results from fatigue when you focus on a single activity for extended periods. As such, you should applythe 20-20-20 rule, which means shifting your focus to something else after 20 minutes. Whatever you shift your focus to should be at least 20 feet away, and you should look at it for 20 seconds.

Use proper lighting

Lighting causes eye strain when it is too bright or too dim. When watching television, you can reduce eyestrain by dimming the lights. However, when focusing on a task like reading, ensure the light comes from behind you.

Make sure that the light from your devices is well adjusted. Extreme brightness causes glare that results in eyestrain. Adjust the brightness to a suitable light, use filters or shade windows to reduce the glare. Also, ensure you tilt your device appropriately when using it.

Bottom Line

If you spend lengthy amounts of time focusing on an activity or staring at digital screens, you are at risk of experiencing eye strain. You need to take care of your eyes by ensuring you take breaks, have proper lighting, and choose proper eyewear.

If you find yourself experiencing symptoms such as watery, sore, and dry eyes or headaches and blurry vision, consult your doctor. Look out for what causes your eyestrain and apply the tips for prevention.

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