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How Long Can Eye Strain Last?

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A woman sitting on her couch while working on her laptop, and she is taking off her glasses and rubbing her eyes due to eye strain

Eye strain is an uncomfortable condition that affects millions of people every day, especially those who spend long hours in front of a computer. If your eyes are irritated and tired, or you get headaches or blurry vision after using a digital device, you might have eye strain

Although eye strain can be irritating and uncomfortable, it’s not usually serious. And it usually goes away on its own a couple of hours after stopping the activity that caused it

Eye strain shares symptoms with other eye conditions, and untreated vision problems can contribute to or worsen symptoms. Speak with your optometrist to arrange an eye exam if you experience eye discomfort when using a computer.

Common Symptoms of Eye Strain

Eye strain can cause a range of symptoms that vary between people. These include

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye
  • Eye discomfort
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye itching
  • Eye redness
  • Eye tearing
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

What Is Eye Strain & What Causes It?

When you use your eyes for a long time or engage in activities that require intense focus, like reading, writing, or working on a computer, it can cause eye strain. This happens because your eye muscles get tired and overworked, and your eyes may become dry and irritated, leading to issues like blurred vision, headaches, and discomfort.

Sometimes, an underlying eye problem such as eye muscle imbalance or uncorrected vision problems can make eye strain worse because your eyes have to work harder than they should to see properly.

To address this, schedule an eye exam with your optometrist. They can diagnose any underlying issues, rule out other vision problems, and provide you with the necessary tools to improve your vision and prevent eye strain.

The Effect of Technology on the Eyes 

As more and more of our daily lives become intertwined with technology, it’s no surprise that eye strain has become more common. Whether using a computer for hours or scrolling through endless social media feeds, our eyes are constantly under digital stress. So many people experience eye strain from using digital devices that it actually has its own name: computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. 

Blue light filters may help combat computer vision syndrome. As we continue to rely on technology, it’s important to stay mindful of our eye health and take steps to protect it.

A woman taking off her glasses and rubbing her eyes. She's also holding on to her phone in one hand

Ways to Help Relieve & Prevent Eye Strain

Eye strain symptoms usually disappear within a few hours of resting your eyes. But sometimes, symptoms can last for days or weeks. Frequent breaks can help avoid prolonged discomfort. 

There are several ways to help relieve and prevent eye strain:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away.
  • Adjust your screen settings and room lighting to reduce glare.
  • Blink frequently and use eye drops if necessary to keep your eyes hydrated and comfortable.
  • Use proper posture and adjust your workstation to be ergonomic

When to See a Doctor for Persistent Eye Strain Symptoms

Eye strain is a common problem, especially for those who spend long hours in front of a screen. However, it may be time to see a doctor if your symptoms persist despite taking frequent breaks and other measures. Symptoms like blurry vision, headaches, and dry or red eyes are common symptoms of more severe eye conditions, like glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss. 

Your eye care team at 2020 Eyecare Ohio can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and provide options that can help alleviate discomfort and prevent issues with your eyes. Book an appointment today.

Written by 2020 Eyecare Ohio

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