Eye fatigue is common and annoying. You’ve likely experienced the symptoms at some point, which include tired, itching, and burning eyes.
Eye fatigue is rarely a serious condition, according to WedMD. Common sense precautions can help prevent or reduce eye fatigue.
Sometimes eye fatigue reflects an underlying condition that may require medical treatment. If eye fatigue persists, see your doctor, says WedMD. This is important if eye fatigue is associated with headaches or with eye problems such as:
- double vision
- significant change in vision
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Intense use of the eyes -- extended amounts of driving, reading, or computer work -- can cause eye fatigue. Exposure to bright light or straining to see in dim light can also cause eye fatigue.
In this day and age, a common cause of eye fatigue is staring at length using digital devices such as computer screens, smartphones and video games.
This eye fatigue affects about 50%-90% of computer workers, according to WebMD. Computer-related eye symptoms may be responsible for up to 10 million primary care eye examinations each year.
As more people use smartphones and other handy digital devices, the problem will likely grow. People hold digital devices closer to their eyes than they hold books and newspapers, according to research. This forces eyes to work harder as they strain to focus on tiny font sizes.
Digital devices may also be linked to eye fatigue due to a tendency to blink less often when staring at a computer screen. People usually blink about 18 times a minute, according to WebMD. This naturally refreshes the eyes. But people only blink about half as often while using a computer or other digital device, according to studies. The result can be dry, tired, itching, and burning eyes.
- Sore or irritated eyes
- Difficulty focusing
- Dry or watery eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, or back
These symptoms can decrease safety. They may be intensified by sleep deprivation. During sleep, the eyes are replenished with essential nutrients. Lack of sleep may result in persistent eye irritation, according to WebMD.
Try making simple changes in your work habits or environment.
Prevention tips from organizations such as Prevent Blindness, the National Eye Institute, and Get Eye Smart:
Make changes to your computer screen:
- Place the screen 20-26 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level.
- Regularly clean off dust and fingerprints from the screen. Smudges on the screen can reduce contrast and increase problems with glare and reflections.
- Choose screens that tilt and swivel.
- Consider using a glare filter over your screen.