Eyestrain occurs when the eyes get tired from intense use such as reading, working on a computer or driving for a longer period.
Eyestrain is usually not a serious condition and it goes away once the eyes are rested. In some cases, symptoms of eyestrain may indicate an underlying eye condition that requires treatment.
Symptoms of eyestrain may include:
- Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
- Watery eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Sore neck
- Shoulder pain
- Sore back
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty focusing
The use of digital electronic devices can contribute to many of these signs and symptoms.
Common causes of eyestrain include:
- Extended use of a computer or other digital electronic devices
- Reading for extended periods
- Activities that demand extended periods of intense focus and concentration (driving)
- Exposure to bright light or glare
- Straining to see in dim light
The most common cause of eyestrain is extended use of a computer; therefore, it is called computer vision syndrome. However, in some cases, an underlying eye problem such as eye muscle imbalance or uncorrected vision may cause or worsen computer eyestrain.
Risk factors for eyestrain include:
- Activities that require intensive or extended use of the eyes
- Underlying eye problems such as eye muscle imbalance or uncorrected vision (refractive error)
- Stress or fatigue
- Extremely dry air or moving air from heating and air conditioning
Eyestrain does not result in serious or long-term consequences. However, it may be disruptive and unpleasant. It may cause fatigue and reduce the ability to concentrate.
Eyestrain doesn't have serious or long-term consequences, but it can be disruptive and unpleasant. It can make you tired and reduce your ability to concentrate. In some cases, it may take days for all eyestrain symptoms to go away after you've taken steps to change your activities or environment or treated any underlying cause.
- Eye breaks: frequent eye breaks may help prevent or relieve eyestrain.
- Blinking often to refresh the eyes: prolonged work on a computer may cause dry eyes. Blinking produces tears that refresh and moisten the eyes.
- Artificial teardrops: over-the-counter remedy that can help prevent and relieve dry eyes that result from extended computer use.
- Improving air quality in the work place: this can be with the help of a humidifier, lowering the thermostat and avoiding smoke.
- Relaxation exercises: to ease muscle tension and rest the eyes
- Massage: massaging the eyelids, the muscles over the brow, temple and upper cheek can relax the muscles around the eyes and stimulate the tear glands to help prevent dry eyes and relieve symptoms of eyestrain.
- Appropriate eyewear: glasses or contact lenses designed for computer work may help prevent eyestrain.