Fatigue and Your Eyes: Avoiding a Curiously Modern Malady

We are using screens more and more in our daily lives. Whether working at the computer, using our phones, staring at our tablets or watching TV, we are spending more time attached to our screens.


One of the problems with this is that many more people are now suffering from eye fatigue as a result. But what is this, and how can we help to prevent it? Here is a guide to what you need to know.

What Is Eye Fatigue?

Also referred to as eyestrain, eye fatigue is very common and occurs when your eyes become tired after too much use without a break. It can occur when you stare at a screen for a long time, but also when driving for long distances or reading a book for long periods of time.

It is not serious, and it often goes away on its own, but it can be uncomfortable. However, sometimes it can indicate another problem that can be more serious. So if you get it regularly, make sure you get it checked out.

Symptoms of Eye Fatigue

Common symptoms of eye fatigue include painful eyes, itching eyes or unclear vision. Your eyes may feel tired and become hard to keep open, or they may be overly dry. Sometimes you may experience sensitivity to light, or even double vision. It is often accompanied by other physical discomforts like a headache or a stiff neck.

What Causes It?

Eye fatigue is often caused by staring at screens for too long without a break, or reading for long periods of time without stopping. However, digital screens are worse than print because people tend to blink less, and their eyes become drier as a result. People also tend to hold screens too close to their eyes, and digital screens have more glare.

Driving for long periods of time without a break can also cause eye fatigue. Straining to see in low light can also cause discomfort, and dry air blowing over your eyes, such as from a fan, can make it worse.

It could also be caused by underlying conditions, such as a refractive error, stress or tiredness.

How to Treat Eye Fatigue

Treatment for eye fatigue depends on what is causing it. For example, if you have a refractive error like myopia, you may need to wear glasses or contact lenses, or you may prefer to get laser eye surgery to correct the problem (read more about the advantages of surgery if this interests you).

But for other causes of eye fatigue, you will simply need to change your current situation or change your habits. For example, if you are using a screen and you begin to feel the symptoms, give your eyes a break. Stop doing what you are doing, and do something else instead.

Prevention is the best cure, so make sure you take regular breaks from looking at a screen or reading a book, ensure the level of light in the room is comfortable, and keep your screen or book at an arm’s length away.

Take Steps to Avoid Eye Fatigue

We may find ourselves looking at screens more and more these days, but don’t let it become uncomfortable. Eye fatigue can be frustrating even though it is rarely serious, so make sure you keep the above tips in mind to avoid it as much as possible. And if you are worried that something else could be causing your eye fatigue, always see a specialist to get your eyes checked or any underlying problems.

Libby Atkins writes health and nutrition related articles for a range of health and lifestyle blogs.

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