Anything that requires intense eye use can cause eye fatigue or eye straining. Over the past several years, eye fatigue has become an increasingly common problem. Although it can be uncomfortable, eye fatigue is not a serious eye condition and can be improved with a few lifestyle changes.
How do you know if your eyes are fatigued? Eye fatigue can cause headaches, difficulty concentrating, or even muscle pain or stiffness in the upper body. Whether or not you experience these symptoms, your eyes will still be affected; fatigue can cause blurry vision, a burning sensation in the eyes, or dry or watery eyes. You may also experience increased sensitivity to light.
You are at greater risk of eye fatigue if you spend large amounts of time focused on a single activity, such as working at a computer or children who spend significant time on digital devices. Here are 6 ways to help prevent fatigued eyes:
1. Take Breaks
Eye fatigue can be caused by focusing on a single task for a long period of time, such as driving, reading, completing detailed work, or using a computer. Reducing the time that you’re exposed to a single activity requiring intense focus will help to prevent eye fatigue. Ensure you take breaks, walk around, and stretch your muscles to help yourself relax — your eyes will appreciate the change in environment. Practice the 20-20-20 rule especially when you are engaged in near activities such as reading or computers: every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, look at something 20 feet away (e.g. out the window).
2. Choose the Proper Eyewear
If you are experiencing prolonged eye fatigue or eye straining, you should work with your eye doctor to determine if you require special eyewear to reduce your eye strain. Specialized lenses, devices, or eye therapy for the activity causing the strain could be prescribed by your eye doctor. Additionally, they could suggest certain coloured or tinted lenses be worn to help with eye strain, or that you reduce contact lens wear time to allow your eyes to rest. Your eye doctor is best equipped to determine the cause of your eye fatigue and can help provide a solution that suits your eyes and your lifestyle.
3. Anti-fatigue Lenses
There are so many different lens options available now and patients have more lens designs than ever to choose from to make sure their prescription is filled to suit their every need. Anti-fatigue lenses are designed to help relax our focusing system. They can help prevent you from overworking or exhausting the muscle that controls your focusing system. The upper portion of the lenses provides perfect distance vision (i.e. normal distance prescription lenses) with a subtle change in power towards the bottom of the lens, which provides additional prescription to help relieve the strain of near work. In essence, the added prescription allows the lens to do the work instead of your eyes.
4. Get Good Rest
Feeling stressed or tired can also cause eye fatigue. Getting adequate sleep is important for your entire body, including your eyes. When you sleep, your eyes are flushed of old cells and proteins, allowing for new ones to grow and develop—they are literally refreshed! Your tear ducts also help to clean and renew your eyes during a deep sleep. You should aim for at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night, so your eyes can rest and refresh properly, avoiding eye fatigue.
5. Adjust the Lighting
The first way to prevent fatigued eyes is to ensure you are in a properly lit space. An inadequately lit environment—whether it be too dim or too bright—can cause eye strain and fatigue. Further, the position of your lighting can have an impact on your eyes’ performance. If you are doing focus-intensive work, such as reading, position the light behind you to provide the best lighting. If you are watching TV, dimming the lights could help to reduce eye strain. Electronic devices can be especially tiresome for your eyes. If you are viewing a screen, adjust its brightness to properly reflect your environment. By providing your eyes with proper lighting, you will most likely avoid the symptoms of eye fatigue.
6. Use Artificial Tears
Another way your eyes can become fatigued is by not receiving adequate lubrication. Intense focus can result in a reduction of the times you blink per minute, especially when you are viewing a screen. When you blink less, your eyes can become dry and irritated, causing fatigue. To address this, use artificial tears. However, you should also try to modify this behaviour by trying to blink more frequently and fully, especially while you are concentrating on a task.
Regular checkups with an eye doctor are very important because a professional eye exam will determine what type of care your eyes need and whether or not your vision is healthy. If you’re looking for an optometrist in the Midtown Toronto area, contact Tonic Eye Care today for all of your vision needs!