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What is eye strain and how to reduce it with a few simple steps

12 min read - 23/08/2022

What is eye strain and how to reduce it with a few simple steps

Vision-intensive tasks such as reading, or computer work can cause severe stress to the muscles in the eyes.  Eye strain, also known as asthenopia in medical terms, is often caused by bright light inside the office or bright light from outside and can include many symptoms such as tired, sore, itchy and burning eyes, and hazy or double vision and in more severe cases, intense headaches.

One’s eyes are designed to focus on a variety of objects throughout the day, but prolonged exposure to computer screens can be detrimental to the eyes if one does not take steps to protect your eyes and your vision.

What causes eye strain?

There are various causes of eye strain, and the computer screen is not always to blame. The ciliary body is the focus muscle of the eye and allows one to focus on nearby objects for certain periods. When staring or concentrating on a new object, the muscle contracts which allows the lens of the eye to thicken and increase the overall power of the eye, and this repeating action of muscle contracting can later cause eye strain.

Another set of muscles that contract when extended close to work or objects, is the extraocular muscles. There are six extraocular muscles in each eye and two of these, the medial recti, do most of the work when focusing on close-by objects. Keeping the image in focus and preventing you from seeing things twice, often causes the medial recti to allow the eyes to converge on the inside, causing strain.

One of the most common causes of eye strain is dry eye, which often occurs in people who read for hours on end (from a book) or spend hours in front of a computer screen. Another cause of eye strain is an uncorrected vision problem. Small, unregistered vision problems are almost worse than having a major vision problem. When an individual suffers from major vision problems, they would usually consult an eye doctor, to help them address the problem, which in most cases result in prescription glasses.

There are, however, a few simple steps that you can follow to reduce digital eye strain.

Rest your eyes

It is important to rest your eyes if you are working all day long, by moving away from your computer screen for short intervals. You can simply close your eyes for a few minutes, or better yet, leave the area to sit or lie in a dark room for five minutes so that your eyes can properly rest.

Accommodate your screen

Adjust the computer screen to a comfortable height, so that the screen is more or less at eye level, or just slightly below. When looking at the middle of the screen, the ideal is that your eyes should look slightly downward. It is recommended that you position the screen at least 51cm away from your eyes, or roughly an arm’s length distance away. You can add more viewing distance if you are using a large screen.

Reduce contrast and bright or sharp light

Proper lighting is essential in any office and is ideal for creating ambient lighting. Avoid direct, bright sunlight from outside, or light falling directly on your computer screen. Also, note that generic fluorescent lighting sometimes causes glare that creates a very uncomfortable environment.

However, eye strain should not necessarily be ignored and if the problem persists, it is better to consult an eye doctor. A proper eye test will determine if you need prescription glasses. Our prescription glasses always remain in fashion, so, get ready to transform your looks by ordering your prescription glasses online.

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