What Is Eye Fatigue?
Your eyes might get tired quickly if you stare for long periods at a computer, smartphone or game console. The eye doctor might call this computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. It affects most people who use one. Some estimates say computer-related eye symptoms may be responsible for up to 10 million eye doctor visits a year. The problem is expected to grow as more people use smartphones and other handheld digital devices. You hold this kind of device closer to your eyes than a book or newspaper. That forces your eyes to work harder than usual as they strain to focus on small words.
Digital devices may also be linked to eye fatigue because you tend to blink less often when looking at a computer screen. People usually blink about 18 times a minute which naturally refreshes the eyes. But studies suggest that people only blink about half as often while looking at a computer or other digital device, and can result in dry, tired, itchy and burning eyes.
What Causes It?
Anything that requires intense eye use can cause fatigue. Some of the most common are:
If you look at a bright light or spend time in a place that’s too dim, it can also tire your peepers.
What are the Symptoms?
Be on the lookout for:
- Sore or irritated eyes
- Trouble focusing
- Dry or watery eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Pain in the neck, shoulders or back
These symptoms can lower your productivity. If you stay awake long hours working, you can make the problem worse. Sleep refreshes your eye with essential nutrients. Lack of sleep may lead to repeated eye irritation.
How Can You Prevent Eye Fatigue?
Make some simple changes!
Your work habits:
- Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Post a note that says “Blink” on your computer as a reminder.
- Take regular breaks from computer work.
Your eye-care routine:
- Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to tired, dry eyes (keep your eyes closed).
- Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
- To help prevent dry eyes while indoors, use an air cleaner to filter dust and a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
If you have eye fatigue or pain, see an eye doctor to make sure a broader medical condition isn’t to blame.
If the problem doesn’t go away, make an appointment for a full eye exam. The doctor can make sure your symptoms aren’t linked to a problem like an eye muscle imbalance. He can also tell if your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date and suitable for computer use.
If you are interested in vision screening or have questions, contact our vision center today!