How to Avoid Eyestrain?

Published on: 08/07/2021

Too much time in front of our computer and mobile screens can result in eyestrain. Learn how to avoid ocular fatigue by taking care of the eyes.

As we now become more accustomed to doing a lot of our activities online, we add more and more screen time to our daily routine. Aside from our work and studies, we are now used to paying our bills, ordering food, updating ourselves with current events, or simply watching more entertainment content online.

All these may have been key to our increased productivity or enjoyment, but we may not notice the stress we are placing on our eyes. 

What is eyestrain?

Eyestrain is a relatively common condition that is brought about by intense use of the eyes, such as when we subject them to prolonged driving or extensive exposure to computer screens and other digital devices. It is also known as asthenopia or ocular fatigue. 

Most often, asthenopia is not a serious medical problem and can be easily remedied by resting your eyes. However, there are some instances wherein an underlying vision problem is related to asthenopia, such as astigmatism or farsightedness. Complications may likewise occur, especially when you disregard eyestrain for a long time and you continue prolonged exposure to blue light. These may include cataracts and problems with the retina.

What are the symptoms of eyestrain?

When suffering from eyestrain, you may feel a sore, burning sensation in the eyes. The eyes may also feel tired or itchy, and they may become either watery or dry. Your vision may also start to blur, and you may experience increased sensitivity to light. In these cases, the symptoms may be accompanied by headaches and vertigo.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology also cites reflex symptoms that may come with asthenopia, such as migraine, nausea, and the twitching of facial muscles.

How do we prevent eyestrain?

Mindfulness in our reading and viewing habits is essential to preventing eyestrain. In order to keep our eyes healthy, we might have to make a few changes to our environment and lifestyle. Consider the following tips:

Take a break

Whatever task you may be doing, it is important to take periodic breaks. To do this, simply look away from your screen or find a spot where you can pull over (if you are driving) and rest the eyes. 

Manage your screen time 

Clearly, it is also vital to put limitations on your screen time. Medical experts suggest the 20-20-20 rule. Make it a habit that every 20 minutes, you shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away. Do this for 20 seconds. 

Make sure there is also a proper distance between you and your computer screen (which should be approximately 25 inches). Take some time as well to adjust the settings on your screens. Explore what you can do with the brightness, contrast, and font sizes to give your eyes an easier time. 

Find proper lighting

It would be beneficial to place your light source behind you, especially when you are reading. This helps position the light on the task you are concentrating on. The goal is to have enough lighting without having it shine directly into your eyes.

Aside from these, you can also use artificial tears that are available over the counter to help lubricate your eyes. To improve the air quality in your surroundings, try a humidifier so you can also prevent your eyes from drying. 

While eyestrain may not cause permanent vision or eye problems, it is still important to take care of our eyes. If resting the eyes does not relieve you of your eyestrain, or the symptoms are severe, make sure to seek medical help.