How to Understand When You’re Fatiguing the Eyes
Tired eyes, visual fatigue, computer vision syndrome and asthenopia are all terms to indicate that the eyes are subjected to stress. This disorder manifests itself when the eyes are tired from overuse, but it could also be the symptom of an underlying disease. Signals may vary, but there are some general clues that make you understand that you’re straining your eyes.
Know the Symptoms of Ocular Fatigue
1) Pay attention to burning, pain or ocular itching.
If you start to feel itchy eyes or they start to burn or be tired, it could be asthenopia. Sometimes keeping the gaze focused for long periods always at the same distance can cause fatigue. If you realize that you are presenting these symptoms, take a break from the job you are doing; a damp cloth on the eyes can ease the discomfort a little.
Prolonged computer use is a major cause of ocular stress.
Doctors agree that all individuals who work on the video terminal for more than two hours without a break run a greater risk of asthenopia.
Schedule short breaks, when you can, to rest your eyes.
2) Pay attention to tearful eyes.
An excessive production of tears by the glands responsible for this function is a common indication of ocular fatigue. The tears are composed of water, mucus, lipids and lubricate the eyeball; the eyes produce them as a reaction to irritation or inflammation.
Although it may seem strange, teary eyes are often the result of dry eye.
Over-the-counter and prescription eye drops can be used for this disorder.
3) Pay attention to the difficulty of vision.
The view is blurred when the objects you observe are not “in focus” or well defined; it is a common symptom of myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism and can be corrected with lenses. When it manifests itself as a transitory problem, it is likely to be caused by asthenopia.
Blurry vision is one of the most common signs of eye strain.
It can also be a sign of serious health problems; if the rest of the eyes does not solve the situation, go to the doctor. APRIL 2018
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4) Pay attention to double vision.
When you see double (diplopia), the eyes are not processing the information they send to the brain correctly. In general, the eyes receive two slightly different images that the brain combines to create a single three-dimensional image; when the brain is not able to merge them into a single image, experience diplopia, the double vision of an object that can be a symptom of asthenopia.
Monocular diplopia occurs only when an eye is affected by the problem, but the brain processes two images; this is a more rare situation than binocular diplopia.
The most frequent cause of monocular diplopia is an incorrect refractory vice.
If you suffer from double vision, let your eyes rest well; make an appointment with the ophthalmologist if the symptom persists.
5) Take note of frequent headaches.
A headache is associated with ocular stress caused in turn by prolonged sight use. If you notice that you suffer from a headache when you do precision work involving intense eye use, such as reading, sewing or other tasks that require you to maintain visual attention for a long time, you may suffer from asthenopia.
Take regular breaks to give your eyes a moment of rest.
If you do not notice improvements with a headache, the cause could be a problem of focusing; make an appointment with the ophthalmologist to have your eyes checked.
7) Check for greater sensitivity to light.
If you notice painfully squeezing your eyes even under normal lighting conditions, you may suffer from eye strain. Sensitivity to light, or photophobia, is caused by the pupillary hole that opens or closes too slowly or insufficiently in response to changes in light quantity. It could also be the consequence of the temporary impossibility of the cornea and the tears of working in sync; it is necessary that the corneal surface is smooth and lubricated to trigger the light focusing process.
Straining the eyes to see in poorly lit environments is a common cause of asthenopia.
If your computer monitor is badly lit, has reflections or there is little contrast between the text and the screen background, you may suffer from photophobia and asthenopia.
Reduce the lighting of the environment. The lights from above and those in the room compete with that of the monitor; if the screen reflects the light coming from the window, tilt it or move it to reduce this noise.
Consider buying a pair of sunglasses with polarizing lenses and UV protection to wear when you’re outdoors. Some special coloured lenses can be useful for computer work; talk to the ophthalmologist to find solutions.
7) Monitor the difficulties of focusing.
When you look away from your computer, you may notice some difficulties in focusing on the printed material; you may even see post-retinal screen images even after looking elsewhere. These are signs of asthenopia.
You can complain about these symptoms of eye strain after the computer work sessions, after driving for a long time without resting your eyes or after doing other activities that involve prolonged visual attention.
Sometimes, the difficulty in focusing is caused by an eye condition.
8) Be careful if you feel you can not keep your eyes open.
Intense tiredness or fatigue in the eyes is a symptom of visual stress instead of fatigue. Observing monitors is a laborious task for the visual system, due to the technology that uses pixels for imaging. The eyes must focus and continue to focus small dots instead of uniform images, as instead happens on the printed paper; all this work generates asthenopia.
Moreover, you are induced to blink less frequently than usual when you look at a screen; as a result, the ocular surface dries and becomes irritated.
Children may be more susceptible to these symptoms than adults, even if they are less likely to complain.
Treat Ocular Fatigue
9) Make changes to the environment.
If the air in the room is very dry, the eyes are struggling to remain lubricated; uses a humidifier to maintain a good moisture content. If you sit close to the flow of air emitted by a ventilator, move or adjust the orientation of the device to protect the eyes.
If you continually need to move your gaze from a printed page to your computer monitor, use a lectern to bring the paper to the height of the screen.
Check that the workstation and the chair are at the right height for your physical characteristics.
10) Adjust the lighting.
If you work on the computer, the ambient light should be reduced by half compared to that of a normal office. Close the blinds, curtains or shutters to eliminate reflections and the amount of light entering the room; even using low-intensity light bulbs in the office or in the room can be useful.
Avoid fluorescent and even full spectrum ones.
If you are at risk of asthenopia, it is better to use halogen or incandescent bulbs.
You can also change the monitor lighting settings. Choose a cool grey background instead of a bright white, because it is more delicate for the eyes.
11) Take breaks.
When you are engaged in a job that requires a lot of visual attention, remember to schedule frequent periods of short rest. Take your eyes off the screen and focus your sight on an object across the room; if you are driving, stop every hour and rest for a few moments.
Looking towards the corridor or out of the window for only 30 seconds allows the eyes to change focus distance and take a break.
Do not rub your eyes; by closing them you can re-establish the correct lubrication, rubbing them causes only irritation.
12) Make relaxation exercises for eyeballs.
Put your elbows on the desk and turn your palms towards you; let the body fall forward and the head is resting on the hands. Close your eyes and move your head so that your palms are above the eye sockets; bring your fingertips to your forehead, inhale deeply through your nose counting up to four and then exhale. Repeat the sequence ten times.
Perform this simple exercise several times a day.
Change technique and this time counts as you exhale rather than during inspirations; repeat the procedure ten times.
If you can not completely cover or close the eyes, let them rest, lowering the eyelids almost completely and allowing the sight to fade.
13) Change the screen.
Make sure it is 12-15 cm below eye level and 50-60 cm from the face; the line of sight should be directed downward towards the screen.
Directing the eyes down prevents them from drying out.
An adjustable chair helps you find the optimal position.
If you are working at a standing position, make sure the computer screen is lower than the level of the eyes and that the posture you take is comfortable.
13) Reduce the time you spend in front of the monitor.
Minimizing it allows you to deal directly with asthenopia, especially that of children. The little ones are not able to recognize the connection between the use of the computer and the ocular fatigue and they need to rest the eyes.
Take a break of 15 minutes every two hours spent in front of the computer.
Follow the rule of “20/20”: every 20 minutes of using the monitor, look away for 20 seconds.
18) Improve the tools of work.
Old computer monitors (those with cathode ray tube) cause asthenopia more frequently than new ones that use LCD technology; you should get rid of those with obvious “flickers” of the images.
Buy a screen with the highest possible resolution.
LCD monitors do not flicker.
19) Submit to an eye examination.
If you have tried different remedies and the symptoms have not improved, make an appointment with the ophthalmologist; the signs of asthenopia could also be symptoms of eye diseases that must be treated. During the visit, tell your doctor how much time you spend working or watching monitors.
Ask if you can use specific glasses or lenses in front of the computer.
Some lenses with surface treatments and/or special colours can help manage eye strain.