What is Eye Strain?

Eye strain is a common problem in everyday life. In fact, people experience this form of strain on a regular basis due to the fact that many of our daily activities require our eyes to focus on a certain area for a long time. Essentially, these symptoms occur when you eyes are overworked and thus become strained, irritated, dry, watery or blurred. The good news is that it is usually not serious and quite easy to cure. The bad news, however, is that strain on your eyes can be a part of your daily life, especially in today’s computer obsesses society.

Eye Strain Symptoms

Eye strain is, essentially, when your eyes become sore and tired. You may experience itching or burning in your eyes. Some will have watery eyes while others will experience dry eyes. Some even have blurred or double vision which can make it extremely difficult to continue to work, read or drive. To top it off, some people will experience headaches, a sore neck and an increased sensitivity to light on top of the above symptoms of strain.  If you are looking at a computer all day long, you may notice the screen blurring or have color fringes after you look away from the monitor. No, you are not hallucinating- you are experiencing the aftermath of strain on your eyes.

Eye Strain Causes

There are several different reasons why eye strain occurs and most of the time the reason revolves around a computer. If you spend your days staring at a computer screen or video monitor for a long period of time, it’s only natural that your eyes will become a little strained- after all, they are working pretty hard! Other causes include reading for a long period of time, driving (and concentrating) on the road for several hours, exposure to a bright light or glare (like the sun) and straining to see in very dim light (in the dark). All of these will cause your eyes to work overtime and thus, become strained.

How to Avoid Eye Strain in the Future

We all want to avoid this type of strain; however, if you work in front of a computer all day long, there really is no way to avoid the computer screen. After all, it’s your livelihood. Instead, you can change the lights around you so they are not so intense and bright. Try to blink as often as you can and take eye break throughout the day- close your eyes, breathe deep and try to relax the eye strain away. Consider consulting your optometrist about eye wear or take eye drops if you experience dry or itchy eyes. If you can, try to give your eyes a five minute break from the computer screen every hour. During this time you can make phone calls, do some filing or talk to a colleague about a work related issue. Adjust your keyboard and monitor so they are ergonomically correct. All of these may be able reduce the symptoms your eyes experience over time.