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How Long Can Eye Strain Last?

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In today’s digital age, where screens are ubiquitous in both our professional and personal lives, eye strain has become a common concern. Whether it’s staring at a computer for hours on end, scrolling through social media on a smartphone, or binge-watching your favourite series, prolonged screen time can take a toll on your eyes. 

But just how long can eye strain last, and what can you do to alleviate its effects? The duration of eye strain varies from person to person, but generally, it should diminish within minutes to hours after stopping activities that require intense eye focus.

Consistent eye exams can assist in alleviating eye strain, and your eye care professional at Advance Eye Care Center will work with you to devise an easily manageable treatment strategy.

Understanding Eye Strain

Eye strain, also known as asthenopia, occurs when your eyes get tired and sore from prolonged periods of concentration. This often happens during computer use or other activities that demand high levels of focus, as your eyes have to continuously adjust and readjust. This can lead to fatigue, particularly when these tasks are performed for long stretches without breaks. 

While the frequent use of digital devices is a common cause of eye strain, it can also result from other tasks like reading and driving.

Though eye strain doesn’t lead to permanent damage, it can manifest through various symptoms, including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Eyes that are red and dry
  • Eye discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the back or neck

Ciliary Muscle & Eye Strain

Similar to how your bicep flexes when you lift something, the ciliary muscle plays a crucial role in your eye’s ability to focus. This ring-shaped muscle located around the iris actively adjusts the curvature of your eye’s lens, enabling you to focus on objects that are near.

A woman sitting on a couch with a laptop sitting on her lap. She's rubbing her eyes due to eye strain

What Causes Eye Strain? 

Eye strain arises from prolonged or intense focus, often due to the extensive amount of time we spend on near-vision tasks, leading to discomfort in our eyes. 

Factors contributing to eye strain include maintaining an improper posture while performing tasks that require significant concentration, such as using electronic devices or reading, not blinking enough, or positioning your screen or reading material too close or too far from your eyes. 

Activities known to induce eye strain include:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Driving
  • Using any form of screen or digital device
  • Being in poorly lit environments for extended periods
  • Experiencing stress or fatigue

Duration of Eye Strain

The duration of eye strain can vary depending on individual factors and the severity of symptoms. In most cases, mild eye strain resolves within a few hours to a few days with rest and proper eye care practices. 

However, chronic or recurring eye strain may require further evaluation by an eye care professional to identify underlying issues and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Managing Eye Strain

To alleviate eye strain, there are straightforward measures you can take daily before consulting an optometrist.

Visual Ergonomics

Visual ergonomics involves understanding how your surroundings impact your ability to comfortably view a screen, considering factors such as ambient lighting, screen glare, and the setup of your workstation.

The eye care professionals at Advance Eye Care Center can help to evaluate the ergonomics of your workspace and offer guidance on how to adjust your surroundings to enhance your visual performance and reduce the discomfort associated with prolonged digital screen use.

Adopting new habits for screen use is crucial for maintaining eye health. Some recommendations include:

  • The 20-20-20 Rule: Make it a habit to look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
  • Reduce Screen Glare: Pay attention to the placement of light sources to avoid glare on your screen. Consider using a screen protector that reduces glare.
  • Maintain a Clean Screen: Regularly clean your screen to remove smudges and dust, ensuring clearer vision.
  • Proper Screen Positioning: Position your screen about 15–20 degrees below eye level and keep it 20–28 inches from your eyes for optimal viewing.

Use of Eye Drops

Typically, people blink about 15-20 times per minute, but this rate decreases significantly when focusing on a screen or reading material, leading to dry and irritated eyes. Although reminding yourself to blink more often is one solution, it’s not always easy to remember. Eye drops can offer a convenient alternative to keep your eyes moist and relieve irritation.

Varilux Digitime

Varilux Digitime lenses are specifically crafted to enhance the experience of digital device usage. They incorporate two unique innovations: an ultra-near vision zone and customization for screen viewing distance.

Consequently, these lenses facilitate easier reading of small text, enable a comfortable posture during digital device use, and provide a broad visual field for screen visibility.

Eyezen+ Lenses

Eyezen+ lenses come in options for both prescription and non-prescription wearers, including versions designed specifically for children. This makes it so individuals of all ages can safeguard their eyes against the strain of prolonged screen use.

These lenses use sophisticated filtering technology to shield your eyes from damaging blue light, while also offering sharp, clear vision that enhances your ability to notice subtle details.

Prioritizing Eye Health in the Digital Age

While eye strain is a common concern in today’s digital world, it is often temporary and can be managed with simple lifestyle adjustments and proper eye care practices. 

By understanding the factors that contribute to eye strain and implementing strategies to alleviate symptoms, you can minimize discomfort and maintain optimal eye health. 

Remember to prioritize regular breaks, maintain a comfortable workspace, and seek professional advice from Advance Eye Care Center if you experience persistent or severe symptoms. 

Call us today! Your eyes are precious, so take care of them to enjoy a lifetime of clear vision and comfort.

Written by Myles Bokinac

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