Eye strain is a condition that occurs when your eyes get exhausted due to prolonged or intense use. At times, it can also point towards a deeper underlying condition that needs to be addressed by an eye specialist.
Signs and symptoms of eye strain to look out for include, eye soreness or irritation, increased sensitivity to light, and difficulty focusing. An increase in either dryness or watery eyes, could result in soreness, burning or itchiness. One main sign is frequent headaches, which can be accompanied with neck and shoulder pain. If you suspect that you are experiencing eye strain, be sure to consult your eye specialist right away.
There are multiple causes of eye strain; all of which can be associated with common everyday work activities. Moreover, many of the visually intense tasks that we perform at work can begin to result in a vicious cycle where we stress the eye muscles further, leading to more distress.
- Not enough light – Squinting to see and clenching our facial muscles to see in the dark for long periods of time can cause eye strain.
- Blue screens – People who use devices that emit blue light from their screens for more than 2 hours a day are highly vulnerable to eye fatigue.
- Heavy computer/digital screen use – Many of us use a computer for hours at a time, and our eyes are usually exposed to glare or extremely bright light. Using devices with poor contrast between the background and text, or viewing from less-than-ideal angles, aggravates this problem further.
- Viewing documents – When performing prolonged visual tasks like reading documents or small print, some people tend to blink less than normal. This decreased blinking rate causes the eyes not to get enough moisture, and may result in eye fatigue or strain.
- Intense eye/hand coordination – People who work on repairs, installation, wiring, and labs for long periods of time may have to look at tiny objects and assemble things smaller than their fingertips. Strain can occur without proper visual magnification, or without taking breaks to rest the eyes.
- Uncorrected vision – An underlying eye problem, such as uncorrected vision or eye muscle imbalance, could also cause fatigue. Such factors may worsen the condition for those already suffering from headaches or blurred vision caused by eye strain. Common vision disorders whose symptoms resemble those of eye strain include astigmatism, and refractive errors.
- Not wearing your prescribed lenses can certainly cause eye strain.
- Binocular vision – People who struggle to coordinate both eyes in a binocular fashion could also suffer the symptoms of eye strain.
- Other causes – Stress, fatigue, and the use of certain medications. Insufficient sleep, not resting the eyes, and poor posture while at a work station are also known to cause or exacerbate the condition.
Consulting with your eye specialist and getting regular eye exams is essential for maintaining clear, comfortable vision. They can help detect eye problems before the symptoms become evident, and look for signs that could indicate other serious medical conditions. When visiting an eye clinic, it’s important to provide your medical history, inform your eye specialist of any current problems you are having- even if they may not seem to relate to eye strain or vision problems, and explain your daily work activities.
Make an appointment with Dr. Goosey today!