Eye Strain (cont.)
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is eye strain?
- What causes eye strain?
- What are the symptoms of eye strain?
- What are the signs of eye strain?
- How is eye strain diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for eye strain?
- Can eye strain be prevented?
- Eye Strain At A Glance
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
How is eye strain diagnosed?
Eye strain is diagnosed on the basis of the history that the patient provides and the absence of any serious eye disease.
What is the treatment for eye strain?
Eye strain is extremely common, occurring in as many as 70% of people who perform extended visual tasks. As computer use has become commonplace, more people are experiencing what has been termed "computer vision syndrome," which is synonymous with eye strain. In most of these people, the symptoms are mild and they are aware that their feelings of the eyes being "tired" can be relieved by briefly closing their eyes and taking a break from the visual task they are performing.
Although eye strain is uncomfortable, there are no long-term consequences of eye strain. There is no evidence that eye strain causes any adverse changes in the eyes. There is also no evidence that, in adults, continuing to do visual tasks while experiencing eye strain will result in any structural damage to the eyes.
Eye strain, however, can be unpleasant and disruptive to your ability to concentrate and work. The symptoms of eye strain may lead to physical fatigue, decreased productivity, and increased numbers of work errors.
If you feel that you are experiencing eye strain after extended reading, try to adjust your lighting to maximize illumination while minimizing glare, take frequent brief breaks from the visual task, and consciously blink a few extra times. Firmly massaging the temples with your fingers in a rotary fashion for a minute while closing your eyes is often helpful in relieving the symptoms.
If you experience eye strain while working at your computer, increasing the resolution of your screen (CRT) and reducing ambient lighting may be helpful. Adjusting the distance of your eyes from both the computer screen and your reading material may also relieve your symptoms. Changing brightness and contrast levels on your monitor and increasing text size can also be advantageous. Massaging the temples with your eyes closed for a minute may alleviate the symptoms. Rather than keeping your eyes focused on the computer screen for hours at a time, interrupt this process by briefly looking out of the window or around the room.
When performing extended visual tasks of all sorts, occasionally stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck, and shoulders.
If the symptoms of eye strain are predominantly those of dryness and increasing your blink frequency is not helpful, using an over-the-counter tear substitute a few times a day can be efficacious.
If all these home treatments don't work to relieve your eye strain symptoms, see your ophthalmologist.
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