Managing Eye Strain & It’s Symptoms

Posted by Century Support Services on Sep 09, 2022

September is Self-Improvement Awareness Month, a perfect time to remind students (and everyone else) that the responsibility for personal growth requires ongoing focus and commitment.

September is also Eye Safety Month, an early fall reminder about the importance of taking care of and protecting one’s eyes and vision. Eye Safety Month is important because the modern landscape now delivers an increasingly digitized life.

Few could argue that most of life’s enjoyments and tasks can now be accomplished online – working, socializing, shopping, schoolwork, or simply learning about new things. Most people – young and old – admit to spending too many hours in front of a digital screen.

The result – is a common but preventable condition known as Eye Strain. Eye strain, which essentially describes eye fatigue, is uncomfortable but, fortunately, not serious.

Eye Strain Symptoms

The most common symptoms of eye strain may include any of the following – alone or in combination with one another –

  • Light sensitivity.
  • Dry, burning, or itching eyes.
  • Headaches or neck/shoulder pain.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Concentration difficulties, among others.

Eye Strain Causes

Eye strain is usually the result of intense, long hours during which your eyes must focus for extended periods. Eye strain has several primary causes –

  • Working with digital devices – is known as digital eye strain. Digital screens contribute to eye strain because Digital Devices –
    • Cause people to blink less, creating dry eyes, an underlying contributing condition of eye strain.
    • May have poor contrast and screen glare, which contribute to eye strain.
    • May be placed at an improper distance, potentially leading to eye strain.
  • Long-distance driving.
  • Reading.
  • Detail work like sewing, crafting, or writing, among others.

Dim lights, stress, uncorrected vision, prior eye conditions, and overall tiredness can further aggravate and contribute to an eye strain condition.

Diagnosing Eye Strain

Eye strain is diagnosed by an eye care provider. Eye strain symptoms can be reduced typically by implementing several lifestyle changes to those behaviors and actions contributing to eye strain.

However, most eye strain symptoms will disappear with simple adjustments to one’s lifestyle choices. If the condition becomes severe or does not disappear, seek further medical care to rule out other less apparent and potentially serious conditions.

Combating Eye Strain

As noted above, most eye strain symptoms are managed effectively with simple, proactive lifestyle changes.

The following offers several effective ways to treat or combat eye strain –

  • Employ the 20-20-20 Rule – digital strain can be reduced by taking a 20-second break, – every 20 minutes, to shift your gaze to an object 20 feet away.
  • Use lubricating drops, especially when your eyes begin to feel dry.
  • Lighting should be appropriate.
  • Use a tilting/swiveling screen that also filters glare.
  • Clean the screen to increase contrast impacted by smudge prints on the screen.
  • Use an adjustable chair to ensure your eyesight and distance is appropriate.

Some people find that humidifying the room or applying a warm wet cloth to tired eyes is helpful. Wearing blue light-filtering glasses – even without vision correction-may reduce digital screens’ impact on sleep/circadian rhythms.

Quitting smoking offers a host of benefits – including a big financial advantage.

The Take-Away

Fortunately, eye strain is usually a condition that is more of a nuisance than anything else. However, there are situations where it may develop into something more serious. This is when waiting for your annual eye doctor exam is not advised, as an immediate diagnosis may be necessary to help you feel better.