Eye Strain

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View the Eye Diseases and Conditions Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideEye Health Pictures Slideshow: Your Eyewear Guide for Vision, Sport & Fashion

Eye Health Pictures Slideshow: Your Eyewear Guide for Vision, Sport & Fashion

How do health-care professionals diagnose eye strain?

Eye strain is diagnosed on the basis of the history that the patient provides and the absence of any serious eye disease.

What is the treatment for eye strain?

Eye strain is extremely common. As computer use has become commonplace, more people are experiencing what has been termed "computer vision syndrome," which is synonymous with eye strain. In most of these people, the symptoms are mild and they are aware that their feelings of the eyes being "tired" can be relieved by briefly closing their eyes and taking a break from the visual task they are performing. The symptoms will often by absent or markedly reduced on days when computer use is more limited.

Although eye strain is uncomfortable, there are no long-term consequences of eye strain. There is no evidence that eye strain causes any adverse changes in the eyes. There is also no evidence that, in adults, continuing to do visual tasks while experiencing eye strain will result in any structural damage to the eyes.

Eye strain, however, can be unpleasant and disruptive to your ability to concentrate and work. The symptoms of eye strain may lead to physical fatigue, decreased productivity, increased numbers of work errors, and anxiety.

If you feel that you are experiencing eye strain after extended reading, try to adjust your lighting to maximize illumination while minimizing glare, take frequent brief breaks from the visual task, and consciously blink a few extra times. Firmly massaging the temples with your fingers in a rotary fashion for a minute while closing your eyes is often helpful in relieving the symptoms.

If you experience eye strain while working at your computer, increasing the resolution of your screen (CRT) and reducing ambient lighting may be helpful. Adjusting the distance of your eyes from both the computer screen and your reading material may also relieve your symptoms. Changing brightness and contrast levels on your monitor and increasing text size can also be advantageous. Rather than keeping your eyes focused on the computer screen for hours at a time, interrupt this process by briefly looking out of the window or around the room.

When performing extended visual tasks of all sorts, occasionally stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck, and shoulders.

If the symptoms of eye strain are predominantly those of dryness and increasing your blink frequency is not helpful, using an over-the-counter tear substitute a few times a day can be efficacious.

If all these home treatments don't work to relieve your eye strain symptoms, see your ophthalmologist.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/5/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Eye Strain - Causes

    Please discuss the cause of your eye strain.

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Eye Strain - Symptoms and Signs

    What are the signs and symptoms associated with your eye strain?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Eye Strain - Diagnosis

    What were the events that led to a diagnosis of eye strain?

    Post
  • Eye Strain - Treatment

    What was your treatment for eye strain?

    Post
  • Eye Strain - Prevention

    Please share tips for preventing eye strain.

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors