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How to Identify and Treat Eye Strain Symptoms?

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Written by- Gina Walters

Asthenopia, often known as eye strain, is a word used to describe several symptoms that can negatively affect your vision. 

It causes eye fatigue that makes it difficult to read books, drive long distances, or engage in other visual activities. 

Each person experiences eye strain differently, which can be brought on by several day-to-day activities. 

A prolonged period of focus-intensive activities, such as using digital devices, reading books, driving, or watching TV, can lead to eye strain.

It’s essential to understand the symptoms of eye strain to determine how the condition is impacting you. 

Read further to examine eye strain symptoms and ways to overcome them.

Eye strain symptoms

The symptoms of eye strain might differ from person to person and occur in many different forms. 

Some common symptoms of eye strain may include headaches, dry eye, soreness, blurred vision, watery eyes, light sensitivity, and trouble concentrating.

Sore or tired eyes: Experiencing pain or exhaustion in the eyes, frequently along with heaviness or discomfort. It is common to have generally exhausted or strained eyes, especially after extended focusing.

The symptoms of eye strain might be similar to those of other eye disorders; hence, it’s advisable to consult your ophthalmologist for a proper diagnosis.

Headaches: You may experience a dull, throbbing, or severe headache around the forehead, back of the head, or temples due to eye strain. Long-term visual tasks may make these headaches worse.

Wondering how eye strain can lead to headaches? Read our article: eye strain headaches to know more.

Double or blurred vision: You may find it difficult to focus on objects or experience blurred vision. This may happen sometimes or continuously. Eye strain may also lead to seeing the same thing in two different pictures. Strain or exhaustion of the eye muscles may be the cause of blurred or double vision.

Dry eyes: Dry eyes occur when there is insufficient tear production or excessive evaporation of tears within the eyes. This deprives your eyes of moisture, leading to a sense of burning or gritty particles in the eyes, along with feelings of dryness, itching, or irritation.

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Watery eyes: Although dry eyes are prevalent in eye strain, the eyes may also react as a defense against irritation by producing tears excessively, causing watery eyes.

Light sensitivity: Due to eye strain, you may be more sensitive than normal to bright lights or screens. Increased sensitivity to glare or bright lighting may lead to intense pain or discomfort.

Trouble concentrating: Eye strain can make it difficult for you to focus on your day to day tasks. You may find it difficult to concentrate on activities that need visual attention, including reading, using a computer, or spending much time in front of a screen.

Warning: Symptoms of eye strain may make you less productive. You may experience frequent eye discomfort if you work long hours at night.

Overcoming eye strain

watery eyesSource: RapidEye
A closeup of an eye

The severity and duration of eye strain symptoms might differ depending on the cause of eye strain. 

These may include the amount of time spent using their eyes, underlying eye disorders, lighting, and general health. 

The following precautionary measures may help in managing eye strain:

  • Give proper rest to eyes
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses for a long period of time
  • Apply the 20-20-20 rule

Take a 20-second break after every 20 minutes to gaze away at an object that is at least 20 feet away

  • Make sure your eyes are moist by blinking or using artificial tears
  • Place the digital screen a little bit further away from where you usually place reading materials
  • Modify the workspace settings to increase humidity and decrease glare, reflections, and bright lights
  • Minimize lighting reflections and glare using glare-reducing screen covers and anti-reflective eyewear
  • Use a humidifier to bring moisture to the air and an air cleaner to remove dust to help avoid dry eyes when indoors
  • Open the window instead of using the air conditioner, if possible

If the air is really dry, use a humidifier and stay away from irritants like smoke

Several remedies can aid in overcoming eye strain. Read our article: eye strain remedies to explore the ways to get relief from eye strain symptoms.

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Eye strain is a common problem experienced by most people.

It can be brought on by prolonged use of eyes in reading, writing, and gazing at electronic devices.

Eye strain affects people differently and can lead to several symptoms. 

Usually, the eye strain symptoms include headaches, soreness, dry or watery eyes, light sensitivity, and blurred or double vision. 

Taking proper breaks, making sure that lighting is appropriate, and maintaining excellent eye health habits are all part of managing eye strain.

However, individual experiences can vary; hence, if symptoms are severe or chronic, you should see an eye care expert for a complete assessment and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What leads to a strained eye?

Driving long distances, doing tasks that demand focus for a long period, and being in direct and bright light can lead to strained eyes. 
Also, seeing in really low light and possessing an underlying eye condition, such as dry eyes, can make your eyes strained and exhausted.

What does a strained eye feel like?

A strained eye can lead to soreness, dry or watery eyes, blurred or double vision, and trouble concentrating.

How long do eye strains last?

Generally, eye strain fades quickly. 
Digital eye strain usually disappears in an hour after your last screen engagement.

Is there a test for eye strain?

Yes, an eye specialist diagnoses eye strain by assessing your symptoms and performing a detailed eye exam.

Does eye strain damage vision?

No, eye strain may be unpleasant and frustrating, but it does not cause any damage to your vision.

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