Eyestrain usually happens due to its intense use, such as driving long distances, staring at digital devices and computer screens, causing the feeling of tiredness.
It causes discomfort but is generally not severe, and eyes recover once you rest or take other measures to lessen the eye distress. However, in few cases, this eyestrain can signal an underlying eye condition that demands treatment.
Eyestrain can lead to eyes being watery or dry eyes, may cause headaches, blurred or double vision, and even have sore, tired, burning or itching eyes. You may experience increased sensitivity to light, difficulty concentrating, and painful neck, shoulders, or back. You may also feel that you cannot keep your eyes open.
When self-care steps to give comfort, see your doctor for advice.
The main reason for eyestrain is the long duration of staring at digital device screens or reading without pausing to rest your eyes. Even driving long distances and being involved in activities that require extended focus or being exposed to bright light or glare can result in eye strain. Working in very dim light, being exposed to dry moving air from a fan, heating or air-conditioning system or due to an underlying eye problem, like dry eyes or uncorrected vision (refractive error) or stressed or tired can also cause the eyestrain.
The use of computers and digital devices for extended hours is one of the main reasons that raises the risk of eyestrain. According to the American Optometric Association, it is called digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.
Any individual who looks at screens two or more hours at a stretch every day are at higher risk of developing the condition.
Computers strain the eyes far more than reading any print material as people would blink less when using computers. Blinking helps in moistening the eyes.
Moreover, people tend to look at digital screens at less than suitable distances or angles, operate devices with glare or reflection, poor contrast of the text and the background, all factors that may affect the eyes.
An underlying eye problem, eye muscle imbalance or uncorrected vision may also be the reason for or can worsen computer eyestrain.
The other elements that make the condition worse are:
• Poor posture.
• Glare on your screen.
• Circulating air from air conditioning or a nearby fan.
• Not having a proper computer workstation setup.
Although eyestrain may not have severe or long-term consequences, it is often an uncomfortable and unpleasant feeling that lessen the ability to concentrate, making individuals feel exhausted.
These are some preventative steps that can help lessen and prevent eyestrain:
• Have the room softly lit up while watching television.
• Position the lighting source behind you so you get the light directly onto your page or task when reading printed materials or doing some close work.
• Take occasional breaks to rest the eyes by viewing away from the digital screen. And whenever possible, limit your screen time.
• Over-the-counter artificial tears are helpful to prevent the eyes from being dry, and it keeps them well-lubricated.
• Make changes to improve the air quality, thereby prevent the eyes from being dry by using a humidifier or adjusting the thermostat to reduce blowing air and always avoiding smoke.
• When you need glasses to work at a computer, look for glasses or contact lenses designed specifically for computer work.
• Blink more when using computers as it refreshes the eyes, creates tears that moisten and refresh the eyes.