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How Long Does Eye Strain Last?

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A professional-looking man rubbing both of his eyes because of eye strain.

When it comes to occupational hazards for office workers, students, and gamers, eye strain sits high on the list of common issues. Many of us experience symptoms of eye strain, often wondering how long it will last and seeking solutions for relief. 

First, we’ll look at what eye strain is before diving into its causes and symptoms and offer practical advice on reducing discomfort and promoting eye health. We’ll also cover eye strain relieving tips at home and will let you know when to seek professional eye care

Ultimately, the duration of eye strain depends on several factors, including the severity of the strain and how quickly mitigating actions are taken. By employing eye health tips, taking regular breaks, and seeking professional advice, one can alleviate the discomfort of eye strain and protect one’s vision.

What is Eye Strain?

Eye strain, also known as digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, is a group of eye and vision-related problems resulting from prolonged use of digital devices. From computers to smartphones, our eyes are constantly adjusting to the screens’ brightness, contrast, and flicker. 

According to the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, eye strain occurs when the muscles in your eyes get tired from intense use, which can happen from driving long distances or staring at screens for long periods.

In fact, eye strain might be a possible cause behind the growing trend of myopia in both adults and children around the world, and preventative measures work best in dealing with eye strain. 

Causes of Eye Strain

Digital eye strain has been a growing concern in Canada, particularly with the increased screen time associated with modern lifestyles. Key factors include:

1. Staring at digital devices without breaks: Even reading a screen for a short time can contribute to eye strain.

2. Poor lighting: Working in dimly lit or overly bright environments can lead to eye strain.

3. Improper screen distance and angle: Holding digital devices too close or at an awkward angle puts a strain on the eyes, leading to discomfort and fatigue.

4. Screen glare: reducing the glare on your eyes and screen can make a big difference in reducing eye strain. 

4. Uncorrected vision problems: People who have uncorrected vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism may experience more severe eye strain when using digital devices.

A study on the Management of Digital Eye Strain highlights that even minor uncorrected vision problems can significantly increase the chance of experiencing eye strain.

Symptoms of Eye Strain

Typical symptoms of eye strain can include:

  • Sore eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Burning eyes 
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Headache
  • Sore neck
  • Sore shoulders 
  • Sore back
  • Increased sensitivity to light

These symptoms may not necessarily be solely caused by digital eye strain and, if persistent, should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Reducing Eye Strain at Home

A woman applying artificial tears on her right eye to prevent eye strain.

Eye strain relief at home focuses on a few simple changes to your environment and habits. The Canadian Association of Optometrists suggests practicing the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. Other tips for reducing eye strain include: 

  • Adjusting your screen settings
  • Ensuring proper lighting
  • Setting up an ergonomic workspace
  • Blink more while working with a screen
  • Use artificial tears
  • Use computer glasses
  • Reduce glare

Professional Help for Eye Strain

If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms of eye strain, it’s vital to seek professional help. Eye care professionals can conduct a comprehensive eye exam to rule out other causes of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatments or corrective lenses. 

The Canadian Association of Optometrists emphasizes that regular eye exams are vital for maintaining eye health and preventing eye strain.

Eye strain can persist as long as the triggering event, and several hours after. Set yourself up for success when you know you’re going to have a digital-heavy day, or long hours on the road. If you start to feel that discomfort and fatigue, try to change tasks if you can.

Digital Eye Strain in Canada: A Closer Look 

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, approximately three-quarters of Canadians experience symptoms of digital eye strain, with a majority reporting that their symptoms are at least somewhat bothersome. In addition, Canadian adults spend at least 6 hours per day on digital devices.

These statistics highlight the prevalence and impact of digital eye strain in Canada and the need for preventative measures and proper treatment. With more and more people relying on digital devices for work, school, and leisure activities, it’s essential to prioritize our eye health in today’s technology-driven world.

Why Us?

At River Heights Eye Care, we understand the importance of eye health in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world. That’s why we are committed to providing you with top-quality products and services that contribute to maintaining optimal eye health.

Our team consists of experienced professionals who are dedicated to staying updated on the most recent strategies in eye care. We use cutting-edge technology and techniques for accurate diagnoses and effective treatments.

Additionally, we prioritize patient education and empowerment, as we believe that knowledge is key when it comes to taking care of your eyes. Our friendly staff will provide you with personalized recommendations and tips for preventing and relieving eye strain. With our commitment to excellence and your dedication to following good eye health practices, together, we can protect your precious vision for years to come. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today and start your journey towards clear, healthy eyesight.

Written by Shazeen Manji

Dr. Shazeen Manji was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and attended the University of Alberta, where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree. She then went on to earn her optometry degree at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, where she graduated with honours. Dr. Manji received her training in a vast array of clinical settings, including private practices and Veterans Affairs hospitals, where she focused on pediatrics and contact lenses. Though she enjoys all aspects of private practice, Dr. Manji has a particular interest in ocular disease and contact lenses. She completed her ocular disease externship at the Wilmington V.A. Hospital and has completed an advanced studies course in contact lenses, giving her unique insight into fitting specialty contact lenses. In 2019, Dr. Manji purchased River Heights Eye Care where she is now practicing.
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