occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as
while driving long distances or staring at computer screens
and other digital devices.
doesn’t have serious or long-term consequences, but it can
be aggravating and unpleasant. It can make you tired and
reduce your ability to concentrate. It usually goes away once
you rest your eyes or take other steps to reduce your eye
discomfort. But in some cases, signs and symptoms of eyestrain
can indicate an underlying eye condition that needs treatment.
symptoms of eyestrain include:
tired, burning or itching eyes
— Watery or
— Blurred or
— Sore neck,
shoulders or back
sensitivity to light
that you cannot keep your eyes open
of eyestrain include:
— Looking at
digital device screens
without pausing to rest your eyes
distances and doing other activities involving extended focus
exposed to bright light or glare
to see in very dim light
— Having an
underlying eye problem, such as dry eyes or uncorrected vision
stressed or fatigued
exposed to dry moving air from a fan, heating or
lifestyle tips and home remedies to reduce or prevent
— Adjust the
television, it may be easier on your eyes if you keep the room
softly lit. When reading printed materials or doing close
work, try to position the light source behind you and direct
the light onto your page or task. If you’re reading at a
desk, use a shaded light positioned in front of you. The shade
will keep light from shining directly into your eyes.
close work, take occasional breaks and rest your eyes by
looking away from the digital screen.
especially important for children, who may not make the
connection between extended viewing, eyestrain and the need to
rest their eyes regularly.
artificial tears can help prevent and relieve dry eyes. Use
them even when your eyes feel fine to keep them
well-lubricated and prevent a recurrence of symptoms. Your
healthcare provider can suggest which eyedrops might be best
for you. Lubricating drops that don’t contain preservatives
can be used as often as you need. If the drops you’re using
contain preservatives, don’t use them more than four times a
day. Avoid eyedrops with a redness remover, as these may
worsen dry eye symptoms.
— Improve the
air quality of your space.
that may help prevent dry eyes include using a humidifier,
adjusting the thermostat to reduce blowing air and avoiding
smoke. If you smoke, consider quitting. Moving your chair to a
different area may help reduce the amount of dry moving air on
your eyes and face. — Choose the right eyewear for you.
If you need
glasses or contacts and work at a computer, consider investing
in glasses or contact lenses designed specifically for
computer work. Ask your optometrist about lens coatings and
tints that might help too.
symptoms may be relieved by natural products, such as bilberry
extract and omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, but further study
is needed. Talk with your healthcare provider if you’re
considering supplements to help relieve your signs and
Computer use is
a common cause of eyestrain. If you work at a desk and use a
computer, these self-care steps can help take some of the
strain off your eyes.
— Blink often
to refresh your eyes.
blink less than usual when working at a computer, which can
contribute to dry eyes. Blinking produces tears that moisten
and refresh your eyes. Try to make it a habit to blink more
often when looking at a monitor.
— Take eye
day, give your eyes a break by looking away from your monitor.
Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20
feet away for at least 20 seconds.
— Check the
lighting and reduce glare.
and too much glare can strain your eyes and make it difficult
to see objects on your monitor. The worst problems are
generally from sources above or behind you, including
fluorescent lighting and sunlight. Consider turning off some
or all of the overhead lights. If you need light for writing
or reading, use an adjustable desk lamp. Close blinds or
shades, and avoid placing your monitor directly in front of a
window or white wall. Place an anti-glare cover over the
screen. — Adjust your monitor.
monitor directly in front of you about an arm’s length away
so that the top of the screen is at or just below eye level.
It helps to have a chair you can adjust too.
— Use a
If you need to
refer to print material while you work on your computer, place
it on a document holder. Some holders are designed to be
placed between the keyboard and monitor; others are placed to
the side. Find one that works for you. The goal is to reduce
how much your eyes need to readjust and how often you turn
your neck and head.
— Adjust your
type for easier reading. And adjust the contrast and
brightness to a level that’s comfortable for you.