Do your eyes feel irritated or tired after focusing on certain activities? This includes viewing a computer screen, driving a car, or reading for several hours at a time. If so, you may be experiencing eyestrain. This is one of the most common eye conditions today, probably due to the increased use of digital devices. These include smartphones, computers, and tablets.

What Is Eyestrain?

People frequently use this term to describe various symptoms related to eye use. However, you need to understand that eyestrain is a symptom rather than a disease. People usually experience the symptoms of eyestrain when their eyes get tired from prolonged and intense use.

It can be quite annoying. However, usually, it is not a serious condition. Once you rest your eyes, you should experience some relief. You can also take certain steps to minimize your eye discomfort. That said, sometimes, the symptoms and signs of eyestrain can be an indication of an underlying eye problem that requires treatment.

Symptoms Of Eyestrain

Some of the common signs and symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Headaches
  • Burning, itchy, tired, or sore eyes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open
  • Sore back, shoulders, or neck

Common Causes Of Digital Eyestrain

You may experience the symptoms of eyestrain after focusing intensely on one particular task for a long period. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Fatigue and stress
  • Staring at a digital screen for an extended period
  • Exposure to dry moving air from an HVAC system or fan
  • An underlying eye problem, such as an uncorrected refraction error or dry eyes
  • Straining to see in dim light
  • Exposure to glare or bright light
  • Driving long distances without rest

Digital Device Use

Extended use of a digital device, such as a computer or smartphone, is one of the most common causes of eyestrain today. This is why the American Optometric Association calls it digital eyestrain or computer vision syndrome. If your job requires you to start at a computer screen for more than two hours at a time every day, you have a greater risk of developing eyestrain.


In most cases, you simply need to take a break from what you were doing to experience relief from eyestrain. You can also prevent or treat eyestrain by frequently looking away from your digital screen. Adopting the 20-20-20 rule is a good place to start.

This involves shifting your focus to something else situated about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes. If you have to drive or stare at your computer screen for several hours at a time, balance that activity with other activities that demand different use of your eyes. For example, during your lunch break, take a walk outside where there is natural light.

Other things you can do include reducing the time you spend on a single activity, using the right protective eyewear, and finding the right lighting. Blinking more can also prevent the symptoms of eyestrain from occurring.

Are There Long-Term Effects?

Eyestrain does not have serious long-term effects. However, this condition can be extremely unpleasant and annoying. It can also affect your concentration levels and make you feel more tired. However, if you usually use digital devices for several hours at a time every day, you may expose your eyes to blue light. This type of light can cause harmful long-term effects to your eyes.

To learn more about eyestrain, contact Village Optical at our office in New Hyde Park, New York. You can call (516) 352-2316 today to request an appointment.


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