Eye strain has become more common because our usage of computers and other screens has increased. Eye strain can cause vision problems and create many other symptoms. About two-thirds of U.S. adults spend five or more hours every day on some type of digital device. This can be a phone, tablet, computer, tv, or anything else with a digital screen. The average American worker also spends upwards of seven hours each workday looking at a computer screen. It's estimated that roughly half of all regular computer users report some level of eye strain; that’s half of the computer-using workforce. We want to help you combat eye strain and prevent other problems with some vision therapy exercises.
Eye strain, or asthenopia, is when your eyes get tired from being overworked. Digital devices and computer screens are major causes of eye strain because of the angles and viewing distances when looking at a screen. We may be forced to sit in uncomfortable positions or focus our eyes at uncomfortable distances. In addition, reading screens is often more difficult on our eyes than reading a printed page. The most common symptoms of eye strain are:
Headaches: Sharp, dull, or throbbing headaches can all be symptoms of eye strain.
Blurry vision: Your vision may become unfocused or blurry, making things hard to see.
Dry eyes: Your eyes may become dry and start to hurt. You may even feel a sensation of something being in your eyes.
Neck pain: General discomfort and a sore neck may be the result of sitting in an uncomfortable position.
Shoulder pain: General discomfort and sore shoulders may be the result of sitting in an uncomfortable position.
Burning eyes: Your eyes may begin to burn, itch, or even water after prolonged use.
Tearing: Involuntary tearing of the eyes can eventually lead to burning and itching.
Developing these symptoms may motivate you to make an appointment with your eye doctor or a vision specialist. While eye strain may be the cause of these symptoms, you may also be suffering from vision problems like nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Your Kansas eye care team is here to help you with any eye strain concerns. Schedule an appointment with the Kansas eye doctors at The EyeDoctors Optometrists. We'll look at your symptoms and then help you with the most appropriate treatment plan. You may even need a new prescription or glasses. Find your nearest The EyeDoctors Optometrists Location today.
Our team will be able to figure out what may be affecting your vision or causing the symptoms listed above. If a vision problem is to blame, we will provide a prescription for vision correction. If eye strain is the most likely cause of your symptoms, we may recommend some lifestyle changes. This includes reduced screen time, posture changes using devices, or vision therapy exercises.
Vision therapy exercises are believed to help improve numerous vision-related symptoms. There are few scientific studies to fully support the use of these exercises, but there is some evidence to support that exercises can help improve any symptoms.
You shouldn't self-diagnose any vision or eye problems. Discuss any new therapies or vision treatments with your eye doctor before beginning. If your eye doctor has suggested you try vision therapy exercises, the following exercises are a good place to start.
Making your eyes more comfortable is one of the best things you can do for your symptoms. Try out some of the following:
Blinking or yawning to produce tears and moisten eyes. This can help you if you experience dry or itchy eyes after looking at a screen for too long.
Looking away from your digital screen toward a source of natural light.
If using screens for several hours at a time, look away every couple of hours for several seconds.
Simply moving your eyes around can also help relieve eye strain symptoms. Here is an example of an eye movement exercise to try.
Close your eyes.
Move your eyes slowly upward toward the ceiling, and then down toward the floor.
Repeat step two three times.
Close your eyes again.
Slowly move your gaze to the left and then to the right.
Repeat step five three times.
When you spend a lot of time focusing on one object, it’s helpful to refocus your eyes elsewhere. It’s especially important that the object is at a different distance or angle than your screen. If it’s at a similar angle and distance when compared to your screen, you may still experience eye strain. Follow the steps below for a simple refocusing exercise.
Hold a finger a few inches away from your eye and focus your gaze on it.
Slowly move your finger away.
Move your focus far into the distance beyond your finger, and then return your gaze to your finger.
Move your finger slowly back to within a few inches of your eye.
Move your focus to something more than eight feet away.
Repeat this exercise three times.
As simple as it may seem, taking a break can go a long way if you need to rest your eyes. While rest seems like the opposite of exercise, it is a great solution. Vision rest gives your eyes a break from screens. Many experts recommend the "20/20/20 rule": after every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
These exercises will not cure your vision problems, they are meant to relieve eye strain symptoms. While we do recommend trying the eye vision exercises we described, you should talk to your eye doctor first.
Your Kansas eye care team can help you with your eye strain concerns. Talk to our team if you are having vision problems or other symptoms of eye strain. You should also reach out to us if you’re considering vision exercises. We can also help diagnose other eye and vision issues you may be having. Book an appointment with your nearest Kansas eye specialist at The EyeDoctors Optometrists.