What is Eyestrain?
Eyestrain is a common condition that occurs when your eyes get tired from continuous and intense use. The major cause is continuously staring at computer screens, TV screens and other digital devices without regularly blinking or taking a break - or from driving long distances. This condition be annoying but it is not usually serious and will go away once you close and rest your eyes or take other steps to reduce this discomfort.
Symptoms of Eyestrain
· Tired, burning or sore itching eyes
· Eyeballs feel very dry or are watery and can produce excessive tears
· Eyelids become red and feel irritated
· Experiencing blurred or double vision
· Increased sensitivity to sunlight and/or bright light
· Have trouble focusing properly and cannot concentrate on what you are doing
· Feeling overly tired and have trouble keeping eyes open
· Experiencing neck, shoulder or back tension
Common Causes of Eyestrain
· Extended use of computers and other digital devices. The American Optometric Association calls this Computer Vision Syndrome, or Digital Eye Strain. People who look at screens continuously for two or more hours in a row every day without taking a break have the greatest risk of this condition
· Not having your eyes tested regularly and using outdated prescription glasses or cheap reading glasses
· Using the same eye glasses for multiple uses, i.e., computer, phone, reading printed material and watching TV
· Too bright overhead lighting, light glare on your screen and straining to read text that is too small for your eyes
· Continuously watching or reading without pausing to rest your eyes
· Driving long distances or doing other activities which require intense and extended focus
· Being exposed to bright light or glare and not wearing good sunglasses when outside
· Straining to see in the dark or in very dim light
· Having an underlying eye problem, such as dry eyes or uncorrected vision (refractive error)
· Being stressed or fatigued
· Being exposed to wind, dust, or dry moving air from a fan or by a heating and/or air-conditioning system
· Not wearing good sunglasses that provide 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
Natural Remedies to Help Relieve Eyestrain
· Cut back on your screen time.
· Increase the text size on your screens so you can see the content more easily and are not straining your eyes – and causing wrinkles!!
· Remember to blink regularly.
Take frequent breaks while using digital devices. Use the “20/20/20 Rule”: Remove your glasses if you wear them. For every 20 minutes of screen time, look away for 20 seconds and focus on something 20 feet away. Set your timer to remind yourself to do this throughout your day.
· Do other eye exercises to help relax and refocus your eyes. Just close your eyes and give them a rest. Look at the back of your hand for 20 seconds and then look off into the distance for 20 seconds. Doing these eye exercises to focus and refocus your vision throughout the day will really help your eye health in the long-term.
· Try using natural Eye Drops. Have your health food store recommend a really good natural brand that is non-toxic and chemical-free that will help to naturally soothe and lubricate your eyes.
· Use a compress on your eyes. Soak a facecloth or cotton compress in warm or cool water, lie down and apply the compress over both closed eyes and just relax for ten minutes.
· Diet: Eat foods that are naturally rich in Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids such as oily fish: salmon, sardines, and mackerel; add ground flax seeds to smoothies or juices; soak chia seeds in water and then add to smoothies or juices. Avocados are loaded - and eating just 3-4 walnuts a day provides your RDA of EFA. Also make sure you eat 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
· Make sure you stay hydrated. Drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your eyes naturally lubricated – especially during the winter months when the air can be hotter and dryer.
· Cut back on alcohol consumption. Alcohol will dehydrate your body which in turn can reduce natural tear production making your eyes feel dry.
· Monitor your environment. During the winter months - use a cool-mist humidifier. Use an air-filter system to clean your air at home and open your windows if are experiencing indoor dry, dusty or smoky conditions.
· Give your eyes an added level or protection by always wearing sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection every time you step outside.
· Take a good multi-vitamin. Additional Omega 3 supplements and Vitamins A, B-12 and D are also important for good eye health.
· Get 7-8 hours of solid restful sleep every night.
Disclaimer: This Content is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician.