Eye strain: Symptoms and solutions

Now that school is back in session, that headache you (or your kids) are experiencing may not be solely from the extracurricular activities, homework, and more time on the computer. Headaches are just one of the symptoms of eye strain, which is easy to fix once you recognize it and make adjustments. Here’s what you need to know about this uncomfortable condition.

Now that school is back in session, that headache you (or your kids) are experiencing may not be solely from the extracurricular activities, homework, and more time on the computer. Headaches are just one of the symptoms of eye strain, which is easy to fix once you recognize it and make adjustments. Here’s what you need to know about this uncomfortable condition.

Eye strain

Eye strain is a condition that occurs when your eyes get tired, particularly after reading or working at a computer, but it can also happen if your lighting is too bright or too dim, or while driving for long periods of time.

Eye strain symptoms

Symptoms of eye strain include blurry vision, dry eyes, burning eyes, eyes watering, sore neck and shoulders (from straining your head forward), and headaches. You may also experience double vision or have trouble adjusting your vision after staring a computer screen.

See your doc if you have eye strain

Any changes in your vision health should be checked by your doctor. Eye strain is often a sign that you have an underlying medical condition.

Tips to reduce eye strain

Changes in your work and home space as well as lifestyle changes can ease and prevent eye strain.

1. Don’t watch TV in the dark

Having a high contrast between the TV and the room can stress your eyes. Keep a dim light on.

2. Adjust your computer monitor

In addition to having a comfortable but supportive desk chair, make sure your computer monitor is positioned correctly. Put it directly in front of you at least 20 inches from your eyes. Keep the top of your screen at eye level or below so that you look down slightly at your work. If you have to strain to see print on your screen, adjust the font size.

3. Reduce glare

That sunshine streaming in through the window may feel good, but it can cause glare on the computer screen or even paper materials you are reading. Adjust the lighting in your work space to reduce glare. You may need to close your shades and get a shaded desk lamp.

4. Brighten up your space

A dim room can cause eye strain as much as a room that is too bright. Position a light  so that when you are reading, it can shine on your work space without shining in your eyes.

5. Keep your work close by

If you’re working on multiple items, such as a book and computer and paperwork, make sure all of your materials are close to you so you aren’t straining your eyes or your neck.

6. Change out your lighting

One of the best solutions I’ve had for eye strain is new lighting. My favorite is the OttLite Tulip Desk Lamp ($60), which delivers the right mix of brightness and contrast, helping you see fine print and details with ease. The lamp stand is adjustable to stand tall or bend to any angle that best fits your space. Even better, OttLite’s products are eco-friendly and super stylish.

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