You may have experienced it before: your eyes start to dry and you feel a headache forming after staring at your laptop the entire day. You try to blink your eyes but it’s not enough and now you are looking for answers.
What you are experiencing is called eye strain and it is a common occurrence especially in this digital age.
What is eye strain?
Eye strain or “asthenopia” is a common condition that may affect adults and . It develops when eyes get tired from being used too much and/or for too long without rest. It is a consequence of this modern time as people rely greatly on their digital devices for work and leisure. Asthenopia is not exclusive to those who are glued to their screens the entire day. This can also happen to you if you have certain eye conditions, or when you have been doing a prolonged activity without resting your eyes. This includes driving and even reading for extended periods of time.
Take note that another more serious condition called , has similar symptoms with having an eye strain. explains that dry eye happens when your eyes are not producing enough tears to lubricate your eyes, while eye strain is result of having tired eyes. The main difference between the two is the eye strain is a temporary condition while dry eye can be a result of aging and other eye-related health conditions or surgeries like having laser eye surgery.
As mentioned, eye strain is a result of prolonged exertion of your eyes without rest. You may experience blurred vision and your eyes may feel dry, irritated, and look a bit reddish.
Eye strain can also be experienced by individuals who:
- Read books for long periods of time
- Use their digital devices in uncomfortable positions or in dark conditions
- Work under bright lighting
- Have underlying eye conditions
- Are exposed to erratic room temperatures (cold air-conditioning or hot/dry air from outside)
Although eye strain may cause some discomfort, it is easily treatable and does not cause any permanent damage to your health. The best way to avoid getting eye strain is to give your eyes time to rest in between tasks.
recommends the following home remedies in treating eye strain:
- Adjust lighting – Soft lighting while reading or watching television can reduce the amount of stress on your eyes.
- Get your eyes checked – A visit to an ophthalmologist can help you determine if you need to wear corrective glasses. Your doctor may also be able to recommended certain coatings on your lenses that can filter out certain harmful lighting.
- Improve your air quality – Avoid direct exposure to fans and other sources of dry air like your air-conditioning units. Smoking also causes irritation to your eyes.
- Use artificial tears – Your healthcare provider may prescribe lubricants for your eyes to help relieve your condition. Make sure to use only as prescribed and avoid overusing the product.
Other tips you can do to minimize recurrence of eye strain:
- Avoid prolonged staring at one object and blink often to refresh your eyes.
- Practice the 20-20-20 rule: Look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of staring at something.
- Find the right position for yourself when you use your digital devices. Opt to use larger fonts and ensure that your screen is not too bright nor too dark, and is placed just below eye level.
It may be challenging for a lot of people to avoid facing a digital screen, but it is still possible to alleviate the symptoms of eye strain as we accomplish daily tasks. Make it a habit to schedule breaks in between screen time, and explore other entertainment options like board games or sports to help reduce your usage of digital devices.
Your doctor will always be in the best position to give the appropriate medical advice for your condition. For suspected undesirable drug reaction, seek medical attention immediately and report to the FDA at www.fda.gov.ph and UNILAB, Inc. at UNILAB-1 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Always buy your medicine from your trusted drugstores and retailers.