How To Reduce Eye Strain? – Tips For Relieving Eye Discomfort

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Eye Strain is a common modern world problem. Eye Strain, although it is a simple term, may involve a range of symptoms, all of which result in straining eyes and weakening vision. With the increasing use of digital devices, along with improper viewing distance and low lighting, our eyes can strain. Reduce eye strain by taking regular breaks and adjusting screen settings.

Although every individual may experience eye strain differently, the condition is more commonly caused by daily activities. To understand eye strain and its causes, symptoms, and diagnosis, continue reading the article. Make sure you stick to the end for some practical prevention tips.

Eye Strain: Symptoms

Eye Strain can affect people in multiple ways, and here are some of the common symptoms to know about:

  • Eye Discomfort: General discomfort and pain around the eyes is one of the most common symptoms of Eye Strain.
  • Headache: Another common and early symptom of Eye Strain is a persistent headache, especially after prolonged reading and extended screen time.
  • Blurry Vision: Even though you have perfect eyesight, Eye Strain can cause blurry vision, making it difficult to focus.
  • Dryness in Eyes: Another common symptom of Eye Strain is discomfort and dryness in the eyes, along with grittiness at times. 
  • Light Sensitivity: Increased sensitivity, especially to bright and very focused light.
  • Watery Eyes: Some individuals may experience water eyes, a.k .a. tearing or epiphora
  • Neck, Back, and Shoulder Pain: Strain during prolonged screen time in the neck, back, and shoulder muscles is often associated as a symptom of Eye Strain.

Eye Strain: Causes

Eye Strain is a condition commonly caused by intense and prolonged focus of eyes during a specific task. Especially in modern times where digital devices and gadgets are prevalent, Eye Strain is highly common. 

Reduce Eye Strain

Here are some of the common reasons leading to Eye Strain:

  1. Extended Screen Time: Extended usage of computers, laptops, mobile phones, and other devices for long hours without any breaks in between.
  2. Incorrect Perscription Glasses: Not wearing glasses or corrective lenses or wearing incorrect prescription glasses/ lenses can cause Eye Strain.
  3. Uncorrected Vision Problem: Nearsightedness or farsightedness can be a common reason leading to Eye Strain.
  4. Improper Screen Settings: Improper/ incorrect brightness, font size, or contrast on the screen during prolonged screen usage can cause eye strain.
  5. Poor Lightning: Excessive bright light or insufficient lighting, working in dark or dim light conditions, and screen glare can lead to eye strain.
  6. Stress and Fatigue: At times, general stress and fatigue after focused eye work can also manifest in Eye Strain.
  7. Poor Ergonomics: Poor Ergonomics in the form of incorrect posture during reading and inaccurate positioning of computer and mobile phone can also result in Eye Strain.
  8. Dry Eyes: Insufficient lubrication in the eyes causing dry eyes can contribute to Eye Strain.
  9. Exposure to Dry Indoors: An indoor environment with low humidity levels and insufficient moisture may cause discomfort in the eyes, leading to Eye Strain.
  10. Long-distance Driving: Extended periods of driving due to limited air circulation inside the vehicle can contribute to dryness in the eyes. Other than that, maintaining a fixed position for an extended period can also manifest Eye Strain.

Eye Strain: Diagnosis & Treatment

The Diagnosis of eye strain involves a visit to an eye care professional, particularly an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. The doctor’s visit for diagnosis may involve the following:

  • A comprehensive eye examination to evaluate overall eye health, including underlying vision issues, visual acuity, and more.
  • A refraction test is to determine whether the current prescription (for glasses) is up to date or if the individual needs corrective lenses.
  • Evaluation of symptoms, including how often they occur, their intensity, and more.

Further, based on diagnosis, the optometrist (more commonly) in charge may suggest:

  • Vision exercise to reduce eye strain and improve focusing ability.
  • Correct lenses (if needed) or glasses to reduce eye strain and correct refractive errors.
  • Blinking exercise to keep the eyes moist and reduce eye strain often caused by dryness or prolonged screen exposure. 
  • Lightning correction, screen positioning, and more such measures.
  • Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to handle dryness and reduce added discomfort. 
  • Regular breaks, especially during frequent/ prolonged screen exposure.
  • Adequate hydration.
  • 20-20-20 Rule to reduce eye strain and save eyesight. This includes looking for something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

Tips To Prevent Eye Strain

If you are someone who often deals with Eye Strain or any of its symptoms, here are some of the prevention tips you must follow:

  • Always adjust lighting for screen use, and always keep the room softly lit when watching TV to avoid complete darkness.
  • Take breaks during laptop/ computer usage and allow your eyes to rest by looking away or closing them for a while.
  • When reading or using digital devices, position the light right behind you to prevent direct exposure.
  • Limit mobile screen time for kids and even adults who use computers and laptops regularly due to work.
  • Avoid redness by removing drops.
  • Use artificial tears if you commonly deal with dry eyes.
  • Choose blue eyeglasses or eyewear tailored for people with prolonged screen usage.
  • Use a humidifier and adjust the thermostat to improve air quality.
  • Position your monitor/ laptop at eye level and an arm’s distance.
  • Use a glare filter.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
  • Blink often.
  • Avoid blowing air directly into your eyes (through car heaters, air conditioners, coolers, fans, etc.).

Conclusion

Overall, preventing Eye Strain involves adopting a holistic approach to lifestyle improvement and precautions. Whether it is about bringing adjustment into your workspace, limiting your mobile usage, or extending exposure to the natural outdoor world, these efforts will collectively contribute to improving Eye Strain. By being mindful of your daily practices, you can not only reduce the impact of such conditions but can also preserve your vision for the long term. 

References

  • Sheppard AL, Wolffsohn JS. Digital eye strain: prevalence, measurement and amelioration. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2018;3:e000146. doi: 10.1136/bmjophth-2018-000146. [PMC free article]
  • Sheppard AL, Wolffsohn JS. Digital eye strain: prevalence, measurement and amelioration. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2018;3:e000146. doi: 10.1136/bmjophth-2018-000146. [PMC free article]

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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