Eye Strain

Eye Strain

Eye strain is a condition that manifests itself through non-specific symptoms. It can occur while reading, during tedious visual tasks, and as a result of prolonged computer use. But, it is not limited to these tasks. In fact, because eye strain is more of a symptom than an actual condition, it’s important to listen to your body. Often, the signs of eye strain can be hinting at a pre-existing eye condition, like presbyopia, being nearsighted or farsighted, or having astigmatism. 

From untreated reactive errors to not wearing the right prescription for your eyeglasses or contacts, it is something you should not ignore. Although eye strain is often not serious, if your symptoms are due to an underlying condition that needs treatment, your level of discomfort could become more intense. For this reason, it is important to have an eye exam to rule out any underlying eye conditions. 

Often, the signs can be hinting at a pre-existing eye condition, like presbyopia, being nearsighted or farsighted, or having astigmatism.

What Causes Eye Strain?

Most symptoms are caused by looking at something for long periods of time without blinking (which also causes dry eyes). For some, focusing on a single task for a long period of time, such as driving or reading causes symptoms. And for others, wearing an incorrect prescription for glasses or contacts is the cause. Even things like poor posture and working in an environment that is too bright or not bright enough can cause your eyes to strain.

Because eye strain is more of a symptom than an actual condition, getting an eye exam will help your eye doctor determine if you need eyeglasses or contacts. During the eye exam your doctor should check you for dry eyes, examine the eye muscles, and if you wear glasses, determine if your prescription is correct. For anyone who experiences tired or sore eyes, eye strain may be the cause but the question is, why.

Uncorrected vision problems (refractive errors) or an outdated prescription for glasses or contact lenses, is a common cause of eye strain.

Refractive Errors

Uncorrected vision problems (refractive errors) or an outdated prescription for glasses or contact lenses, is a common cause of eye strain. Refractive errors are a type of vision problem that makes it hard for you to see clearly. They happen when the shape of your eye keeps light from focusing correctly on your retina. If you have a refractive error and are not yet wearing prescription glasses or contacts, you may be experiencing eye strain along with other symptoms including:

  • Double vision
  • Hazy vision
  • Glare or halos around bright lights
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble focusing when reading or looking at a computer

Digital Device Usage

Digital devices have become a daily, integral part of our lives. Whether it’s brining a laptop to a coffee shop or sitting down in front of our monitors at work, we use them everywhere. Digital devices live in our pockets, are mounted to our walls, and even serve as our reading books. Because we are constantly texting, researching, working, and playing on our smartphones, many of us experience eye strain as a consequence (digital eye strain). This is the physical discomfort that may follow after two or more hours of digital device use. Symptoms can include: red, dry or irritated eyes, blurred vision, neck/back/shoulder pain, and headaches.

Eye Strain

Diagnosis & Treatment

Because the signs of eye strain can be hinting at an untreated vision problem, getting regular eye exams is important. Regular eye exams can help you make sure any underlying visual problems are being treated and corrected. This helps to reduce strain on your eyes overall. If you would like to speak to an eye care professional to learn more about the diagnosis and treatment, contact our office at (805) 522-7007.