December 7, 2023
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BodY Test EYE PROBLEMS Health Medical

How To Prevent Eye Strain? Symptoms & Causes


Eye strain is the common disorder that happens when your eyes feel tired or irritated after highly intense activity, such as working on a computer screen for a long duration. You can follow the simple and efficient steps to eliminate this problem. If you experience headaches, blurry or double vision or eye discomfort, you should see an eye care provider for proper and accurate diagnosis. This article covers the complete information about the problems of strain in your eyes. 

What is eye strain?

Eye strain is a condition developed from extreme use of eyes, including reading or driving for a long distance. Your eyes may feel burn, tiredness, or itchiness. One of the leading reasons is the excess use of digital services, such as iPads, laptops, computers, or cell phones. Sometimes, this form of eye strain is also known as digital eye strain. 

Eye strain can occur to any one, however it is not a serious problem. There are many possible steps available to treat eye strain. 

Symptoms of eye strain

These are the common symptoms of eye strain include:

  • Itchy or painful eyes
  • Blurry or dual vision
  • Headache
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • High level of sensitivity in response to light, known as photophobia. 
  • Have a problem to think or concentrate
  • Pain in the neck, back, or shoulders
  • Difficulty opening eyes
  • Problem in reading

If you have eye strain in one or both eyes, you may have one or more of these symptoms for a long time. These eye strain symptoms may show up when you do particular activities that are also an indicator of eye strain. 

Causes of eye strain

Many eye strain causes can be observed, however you should consider the leading causes that occur due to the use of computers for greater than at least seven hours a day while working.  Following are the causes of eye strain include:

  • Long time reading without taking break, specifically on the screen device
  • Driving long distances and other activities that include focus for a long period
  • Writing
  • Having fatigue when look in very dim light
  • Having exposure to bright light 
  • Having stress or fatigue
  • Carrying an eye problem, including dry eyes or blurred vision, also known as refractive error
  • Having exposure to dry air that comes from the fan, an air-conditioning system or others.

You may experience eye tiredness or fatigue if you look at a computer, smart phones, or laptops for a larger time. This condition is also considered as digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. It often affects those having a common use of it. The digital eye strain condition may increase with time because nowadays the majority of people have smartphones and other digital devices that push their eyes to work intensely compared to normal.

Computers utilize strain eyes larger than reading any information on the piece of paper. It occurs due to:

  • Less blinking while on the computer. Generally, a healthy person blink 18 times a minute that allows them to become refreshed. 
  • Looking at the digital screens with minimum distance than the recommended 
  • Having devices that shows reflection
  • Having devices that indicate poor contrast between the text and background

If you have any eye problems, including vision or eye muscle disorders, it can also lead to damage from computer vision syndrome. The other factors that can develop more complicated conditions, including poor posture, having exposure to large amounts of blue light, or regulating air that comes from air-conditioning or a fan. 


How to diagnose eye strain?

An eye care provider helps to diagnose eye strain. You can schedule a visit to your healthcare provider. Following are the things that you may need to inform to your provider, including

  • Type of symptoms you have
  • At what time these symptoms develop and with what activity you are performing during these symptoms

A healthcare provider may conduct a physical exam to check for an eye muscle disorder, uncorrected (refractive) errors, and other types of eye problems. 

Eye stains often go away in people. In such cases, you are not required to consult a doctor. Many treatments are available for an eye strain, such as knowledge of the particular activities that influence and irritate the eyes. If you are experiencing eye strain for an extensive long period, you can search for medical care to diagnose any complicated problems. 


Following are the steps that you can apply to prevent eye strain, including

Prevention of eye strain

Computer screen

Use of the computer screen is the popular reason for eye strain. You can follow these simple and easy techniques to reduce the strain from your eyes.

  • Use blinking technique to refresh your eyes

Most often people do not blink more than normal while working on the computer, leading to dry eyes. Blinking develops those tears that refreshes and absorbs the water from your eyes. Build a daily habit of blinking mostly when you are the computer. 

  • Position the screen

When you use a computer or any digital devices, look from the suitable and correct distances and sit in the appropriate postures. The screen should be 20-25 inches away from your eyes or about your arm’s length. Monitor the screen from the eye levels or little below them. You should also see or read below or at your eye levels while using handheld digital devices. 

  • Manage the screen settings

While working on the digital devices, you can apply certain screen settings to overcome eye strain. This could be the enlargement of the text on the screen. You can adjust the screen setting based on your comfort levels. Possibly, you can change the text size by going into the setting of your device. 

  • Clean the dust from the surface

Make a daily habit of cleaning and removing the dust and the fingerprints from the screen surface. Dirts can decrease contrast and develop conditions, including glare and reflections. 

  • Utilize document holder

Put a print or reading material on the document holder when you are at your computer. Few holders are present that can be placed in between the keyboard and the monitor. Some are placed to the side. The aim of using a document holder to decrease readjustment needed for your eyes and movement of your neck and head. 

Eye care routine

  • Utilize artificial tears

You can use artificial tears to provide refreshness to your eyes when you feel dryness. Your eye specialist may recommend an eye drop that works suitable for you. Do not use eye drops to remove redness, this may lead to an increase in dry eye symptoms. 

  • Improvise the air quality of your room

Eye dryness may be prevented by using a humidifier. You can set the thermostat to decrease blowing air. Avoid smoking if you do. Shifting your chair from one place to another may also decrease the quantity of dry air on your eyes and face. 

  • Wearing the suitable eyewear

If you have eye-sight issues, try to wear those glasses or contact lenses that are particularly designed for office or computer work. 

  • Take physical exams

Give an eye exam after a certain period of time. You can also wear different kinds of glasses while working on a laptop or computer. 

Work Environment

The work environment is the key element to manage and reduce the strain of your eyes. 

  • Change the lighting 

You can change the lighting to eliminate glare and bad reflections. Bright lighting with a large amount of glare can strain your eyes, resulting in difficulty to see objects on the screen. Usually, you will experience more trouble when the lighting source is just above or behind you. You might close a few or all the lights that are located above your head. 

While reading or writing, you can utilize a moveable desk lamp. Do not place your monitor in front of a window or white wall. Also, put an anti-glare on the screen. 

  • Use moveable or an adjustable chair

If you sit on a computer for a longer time period, try to choose an adjustable chair. It helps you to move in any direction rather than sitting in a closed or non-moveable position. 

Work habits

  • Use a pomodoro technique

When you want to work on your computer or pc, use a pomodoro technique. This is a time management method that recommends 25 minute focus and deep work followed by a five-minute break. Long breaks, usually suggested for about 15 to 30 minutes after the four successive work durations. 

Take eye breaks: 

Give yourself an eye break by seeing outside from your monitor in a day. You can apply the 20-20-20 rule, after 20 minutes observe anything 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. 

  • Schedule a limited screen time

Throughout the day, try to schedule your screen time. Avoid using smartphones or computers for longer than your scheduled time. Limiting screen time is important for older adults as well as for children. 

Risk factors

These are the risk factors for eye strain, including

  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Working on the computer or screen for higher periods
  • Performing activities that needed the eyes to concentrate deeply for large amount of time
  • Carrying eye muscle disorders


If you experience eye pain for a long time, visit an eye care doctor to check for a medical condition. A healthcare provider can confirm whether your symptoms are not associated with certain conditions, such as eye muscle disorder or dry eye. You may need to change your glasses or contact lens if they are not updated for a long period. 

If you have symptoms of eye strain, follow the recommended methods to treat or prevent it. Consult an online healthcare provider if you do not see any recovery for your eye strain problem. 

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