With technological devices endlessly at our fingertips these days, eyestrain is a common condition that affects most Americans. It is mostly caused by too much reading, staring at a computer or TV screen for a long amount of time, or browsing too long on your tablet or smartphone.
Read below for symptoms of eyestrain, as well as helpful tips to preventing this condition. For the latest on how to prevent and treat eyestrain, read our recent blog article titled Eyestrain: 10 Ways to Ease the Pain.
Causes & Symptoms
Eyestrain occurs when the eyes become tired from being intensely used for a long period of time. Activities that often cause eyestrain include reading for a long period of time or trying to see in dim lighting. Computer eyestrain is very common, as many people work all day with their eyes focused on a monitor. The symptoms of eyestrain include discomfort, watery or dry eyes, itchy or scratchy eyes, blurring, difficulty focusing, fatigue, headaches, and sometimes doubling vision. Although the symptoms of eyestrain are bothersome, they usually pass after resting the eyes. Although eyestrain itself is not serious, it can be a symptom of a serious condition, such as glaucoma.
Prevention & Treatment
Reducing eyestrain is simple. When reading, make sure there is adequate light in the room, and be sure to look away and focus on something else in the room every couple of pages. When working on the computer, reduce both outdoor and indoor light. Be sure to minimize glare off of walls or off the computer monitor, use an LCD monitor, and adjust your monitor’s brightness and contrast so it is about the same brightness of your office.
Experts also say that blinking more often, taking short breaks throughout the day, closing your eyes for a few minutes, and exercising your eyes helps reduce eyestrain. A good eye exercise is to focus on an up-close object for 10 to 15 seconds, and then focus on a faraway object for the same amount of time — experts say to repeat this exercise 10 times.
Resources on Eyestrain
- Eyestrain: 10 Ways to Ease the Pain
- Mayo Clinic: Comprehensive Overview of Eye Strain
- MedecineNet: What is Eye Strain?
- All About Vision: 10 Steps for Eye Strain Relief
- Mayo Clinic: Eyestrain Definition
- CNN Health: Eyestrain