Eye strain, otherwise known as eye fatigue, happens when your eyes focus intently on something for a long period of time, such as when you use a computer for hours on end or drive long distances. Most people have felt the effects at one point or another, and would recognize the symptoms:
- Tired eyes that have a hard time staying open
- Soreness, burning or itching
- Watery, or alternatively dry eyes
- Blurring or double vision
- Headache, especially around the eye area
- Sore neck and back
- High sensitivity to light
The good news is that these symptoms are not permanent. The bad news is that if you continually strain your eyes you can do lasting damage to them.
What Causes Eye Strain
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of eye strain are:
- Looking at digital device screens
- Reading without pausing to rest your eyes
- Driving long distances and doing other activities involving extended focus
- Being exposed to bright light or glare
- Straining to see in very dim light
- Having an underlying eye problem, such as dry eyes or uncorrected vision (refractive error)
- Being stressed or fatigued
- Reading too much or with the wrong prescription
- Exposure to dry moving air from a fan, heating or air-conditioning system
More About Eye Strain
Eye strain is known in the medical field as asthenopia. Technically it is a symptom, not a disease. It is very common in people over age 12, so if a child under that age complains of the symptoms they should see an eye doctor to rule out other, more serious issues. (Source). Most of the symptoms are due to prolonged focus and staring without sufficient rest for your eyes. This is why, with the significant uptick in use of digital devices, and the increased number of hours that people spend looking at screens, there are so many people currently suffering from eye strain.
Eye strain from digital device use is so common that there is even a specific term for it: Computer Vision Syndrome and 50-90% of computer users suffer symptoms of this. The highest risk is in those who look at computer screens for 2 or more hours in a row every day. The good news is that once you recognize that you have eye strain, you can usually modify what you are doing in order to prevent it and eliminate the symptoms. In the short run you can use Cliradex to soothe the irritation. Cliradex is formulated with T4O, the most important component in tea tree oil, which also helps to eliminate demodex mites that can cause symptoms which mirror eye fatigue, including irritation and watery eyes. If you do have a demodex infestation then the mites can also further aggravate the symptoms of eye strain.
Soothing Eye Strain
Eye strain makes the eyelids vulnerable to irritants. In the case of eye irritation, Demodex mites could be the problem. Demodex mites are microscopic arthropods that live on human skin and in human hair follicles. They eat skin cells and sebum, the oil that is produced by the sebaceous glands in skin. They can be found on almost everyone, in every part of the world and in most people do not cause issues. However, when their population becomes too large they can trigger infections and in people with underlying autoimmune disorders mites have been correlated with outbreaks of blepharitis, rosacea and other skin and eye diseases. The mites are nocturnal and very difficult to get rid of and prevent. However, T4O has been proven to kill the mites and break their life cycles.
In addition to using Cliradex to soothe the symptoms of eye fatigue, there are a number of steps that you can take to adjust the way that you use computers and digital devices. These should help to prevent further strain.
Preventing Eye Strain
Usually eye strain can be prevented or reduced by making simple changes in your work habits or environment. These include:
- Making changes to the way you use computers and other digital devices. This includes keeping screens at least 20 inches away from your eyes and below your eyes, which will help them to see the screen in a way that is less stressful. Keep the screen clean of smudges and dust, as those can cause the screen to have less contrast and cause glare that is hard to see through. Also, use a glare filter to reduce the stress and strain on your eyes. Take breaks and blink often. Every hour you should take a couple minute screen break and focus your eyes somewhere else, as well as blinking as often as you can remember to.
- If you drive for a living it is important to take breaks from staring at the road and to blink.
- If you read for a living, or are a student and have to read you can take breaks and blink as well.
- Use artificial tears if your eyes start to feel dry and use an air filter to remove dust and pollen particles and a humidifier to keep the air moist.
If you still have persistent eye strain after taking measures to reduce it, you should see an eye doctor as you may have something else impacting your eyes or need a new prescription.