Do you find yourself squinting at the computer screen or rubbing your eyes often? Is it hard to focus on small text or images? Do your eyes feel tired all the time? If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then you may be suffering from eye fatigue, also known as eyestrain. Eye fatigue is a common condition that occurs when your eyes get tired from overuse. Let’s look at some signs of eye fatigue, common causes, treatment options, and why seeing an eye doctor is a good idea.
Signs of eye fatigue
Symptoms of eye fatigue include dry eyes, headaches or migraines, watery eyes, blurred or double vision, squinting, and increased sensitivity to light. Your eyes may also burn or feel sore or itchy. These symptoms can make it difficult to focus on tasks for long periods of time without feeling strain or discomfort.
Common causes of eye fatigue
Anything that requires intense use of eyes can cause eye fatigue, including staring at screens for too long, driving for long distances, reading, or writing. Other common causes include:
- Dry eye syndrome
- Straining to see in very dim light
- Prolonged contact lens use without breaks
- Extreme fatigue or lack of sleep
- Having an outdated prescription for glasses or contact lenses
- Age-related issues like presbyopia (farsightedness)
- Uncorrected refractive error (when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing correctly)
Stress can also lead to your eyes feeling tired. If you are stressed or anxious for long periods of time, the high levels of adrenaline can strain your eyes and cause discomfort and fatigue.
Treatment for eye fatigue
Generally, treatment for eye fatigue involves making changes to your daily routine or treating the underlying cause(s). First and foremost is resting your eyes—if you find yourself staring at screens all day, use the 20-20-20 rule to prevent and relieve digital eye strain. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from looking at the screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away. Blinking frequently also helps keep our eyes lubricated and comfortable.
Schedule regular eye exams to prevent eye fatigue
One of the easiest ways to prevent eyestrain is to schedule regular eye exams with a qualified optometrist. Even if you think you know the cause, it’s important to see an eye doctor to rule out any medical conditions or eye issues that could be causing your eye fatigue. If allergies or dry eye syndrome are the culprit, your eye doctor can recommend treatments to alleviate your symptoms such as eyedrops or medications to reduce eyelid inflammation.
Additionally, if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, routine eye exams ensure your prescription is up to date and that your contacts fit comfortably. If you don’t have the right prescription, your eyes will have to work harder to see through the lens, leading to further strain and fatigue.
It’s normal for our eyes to get tired sometimes due to stress or overuse of digital devices. However, if this feeling persists and causes you considerable discomfort, you should seek professional care as soon as possible.
At Primary Eye Care Associates of Arlington and South Main, our eye care professionals are here to help you get relief from eye fatigue. Our expert team uses the latest technology to properly diagnose for eye conditions like dry eye or test for allergies. Treatment depends on the underlying cause(s), so we develop treatment plans that are customized to each patient’s unique needs. Give us a call today to schedule your comprehensive eye exam!