Eye Strain

Thursday, Jun 1, 2023 by Nisha Gupta, MD

This month we will discuss eye straining.

What is eye strain?

Eye straining can mean different things to different people. Some feel it is when the eyes are tired. Others have watery eyes or blurry vision. Some may be squinting, and others may have headaches. There is no permanent damage caused by eye strain, but it is worth treating the symptoms to be more comfortable.

What are some of the causes?

  • Prolonged focusing- reading, driving, and screen use (laptops, cell phones, television, etc)
  • Environment- dry air, wind, bright or dim lighting
  • Incorrect glasses or contact lens prescriptions
  • Dry eye syndrome

How is it detected?

A thorough exam of the eyelids and eye surface will look for conditions such as dry eyes. Doctors will also check the prescription of glasses and contact lenses to ensure they are correct.

What are the treatments?

Lubricating drops: These are eye drops that are like your own tears. These may be used throughout the day. Sometimes doctors recommend using preservative free tears if one has an allergy to the preservatives or is using the drops very frequently. Additional treatments used for dry eye can help especially while in the office setting.

Humidifier: This will add moisture to the air especially in the winter months.

Avoid air into the eyes: No air should be blowing into the eyes including heat and air from car vents or desk fans.

Take breaks: Take frequent breaks to prevent staring at computer screens, phones, TVs, books, and tablets. Use the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Update glasses and contacts: Make sure prescriptions are up to date and think about computer glasses if having trouble reading a computer screen.

Practice good contact lens hygiene: Make sure to remove contacts before sleeping and clean them properly. Think about wearing glasses instead to give the eyes a break from lens wear.

Wear sunglasses: It is important to use sunglasses that block all UVA and UVB rays. Use polarized lenses to reduce glare.

Return next month for a discussion on a new topic!

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