How to fight eye strain?

4 min read | 08/10/2021

Symptoms and consequences, discover effective solutions.

Eye strain, which is also known as visual fatigue, asthenopia, or just eye strain, is a common occurrence. Often related to the blue light triggered from screens or sun exposure, and exhaustion of the eye leads to some discomfort and various harmful consequences. Fortunately, solutions do exist.



What is eye or visual fatigue?


In concrete terms, when we spend time on a visual task that requires us to really focus, (reading, working on a screen, driving under the sun, etc.), the ciliary muscle tightens. This ocular muscle is part of the eye, it is special because it has contractile properties.

This situation can then irritate the eyes and lead to various uncomfortable consequences in terms of vision, head or focus.



Recognize eye fatigue: what are its symptoms?


There are many signs that can point out visual or eye strain. First of all, the symptoms affect your eyesight:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision

  • Feeling of seeing double (diplopia)

  • Visual impairment

  • Decreased visual acuity

  • Impaired field of vision

  • Sensation of dazzling

  • Accommodation difficulties when switching from far vision to near vision


At the same time, many signs of fatigue concern the eye itself:

  • Eye pain in or around the eyes

  • Irritated or red eyes

  • Itchy or stinging eyes

  • Trembling eyelid

Last but not least, other symptoms can affect the rest of the body:

  • General fatigue

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Regular headaches

If these symptoms, taken individually, are not evident enough in terms of visual or eye fatigue, their accumulation should however be a warning


What are the main reasons for this fatigue?

UV and infrared rays from the sun, poor vision correction, prolonged exposure to blue light from screens…The causes of visual or eye fatigue are many and diverse, mostly due to our contemporary lifestyle.


Daily life in front of screens




Time spent in front of screens is the number one cause of eye strain today. Overconsumption of screens is related to work or leisure and can lead to eye fatigue. Mainly, the blue light of the screens is the reason. But that's not it: on older screens, imperceptible flickering also contributes to eye strain.


Sun


UV rays are present right from sunrise and even more so if the sky is clear. This is when the sun is at its peak (at noon) therefore this leads to intense UV light. Wearing quality sunglasses should therefore turn into a habit for everyone, including on cloudy days.



In fact, sun-related eye strain is mostly caused by excessively bright light, i.e. too bright interior lighting can have the same effects.


Visual issues


Poor correction or failure to correct a visual defect can also cause severe eye strain. Therefore, it is all the more important to get your eyesight checked regularly.





Moreover, reading during insufficient light can also put a strain on the eyes. It is therefore important not to neglect a visual defect, because eye fatigue can last on a daily basis.


What are the effective solutions against eye fatigue?


6 exercises to fight against visual fatigue 


When the effects of eye strain begin to kick in, there are several simple solutions that can relieve the symptoms:

  1. Get rid of all light sources from the room and relax your eyes in the dark

  2. Apply cold compresses to the eyes, but not too much (no ice for example)

  3. Force yourself to blink more regularly

  4. Position yourself at least 30cm from the computer and tilt the screen approximately 20 degrees

  5. The eye gym: fix a distant point and scan the surroundings with your eyes: up, upper left corner then right, lower left corner then right then down

  6. Eye yoga: rub your hands together to warm them up and place them over your closed eyes in the shape of a shell, but without touching them


Consult a doctor

It is recommended to see an ophthalmologist every 2 to 5 years. The latter will then determine whether or not you need a correction, if your current correction is still suitable and if you have any eye inflammation.

Wear glasses


In many cases, a very effective solution is to wear glasses appropriate to the cause of visual fatigue: 

  • Sunglasses with polarized lenses during direct sunlight (for driving, at the beach or at work) to reduce light and UV rays reaching the eye

  • Anti-blue light glasses for working in front of screens, entertaining or having fun with digital devices because their filter prevents harmful rays of light from reaching the eye and tiring it

  • Corrective glasses to make up for a visual defect (or lenses or refractive surgery for myopia)


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