Eye Strain Headaches and Your Screen Time

Extreme close-up of a young woman wearing eyeglassesHave you ever had an all-nighter in front of your computer screen or smart device? Do you spend more than 2 hours consecutively staring at a screen?

Technology has revolutionized the way we live.  The amount of screens available for our benefit today are endless.  And it also seems that everyone is in agreement. The screens we stare at all day long, including the one you are looking at right now, is a really useful way of not only  accomplishing massive tasks in small amounts of time, but also for relaxing.

And it also seems that everyone is in agreement. The screens we stare at all day long, including the one you are looking at right now, is a really useful way of not only  accomplishing massive tasks in small amounts of time, but also for relaxing.

Unfortunately, too much screen time could ultimately lead to many complications. It’s no secret that this is damaging our health.  Some have even referred to it as the Digital Cocaine.  But even if you are not addicted to your computer,  most people nowadays can attest to experiencing eye strain headaches almost daily.

Eye Strain Headaches

Looking at a screen for extended periods of time can lead to a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Described as the strained, tired feeling the eyes exert after too many hours in front of a computer, CVS has become a daily occurrence for millions of people.

It is estimated that anywhere between 69% to 90% of office workers suffer from CVS.  But regular computer users are also at risk. CVS is a condition which is likely to cause permanent eye damage. Here’s what you need to be aware of.

Symptoms Of CVS

Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms? The most common symptoms of CVS include:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sore back
  • Sore neck
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning or itching eyes
  • Sore, tired eyes

Computer-screen-reflection

Time To See a Doctor?

If you suffer from eye strain headaches and display any of the following  symptoms regularly , go see your doctor at once:

  • Eye discomfort
  • Change in vision
  • Double vision
  • Lingering or intense headaches

Preventative Measures

There is no quick-fix for an eye strain headache because it is most often caused by the environment you find yourself in, like the workspace, or the habits that we have formed around our screens.

There are preventative measures you can take to lessen the frequency, however, and this could serve to prevent or even completely alleviate the condition.

The best advice, of course, would be to shut down your computer and let your eyes rest. Also avoid using your phone when you’re lying down in bed. For many people, their phone is the last thing the put down and the first thing they go for in the morning. Our daily lives have become so dependent on a screen that most people cannot stomach the idea of putting it down. 

If you’re experiencing problems and want to address them, the first step would be to make changes to your working environment and your habits to create a totally new environment. This may simply mean putting  your phone down instead of browsing through Facebook or Pinterest for hours on end. Or it may mean changing the way you work.

Change The Environment

CVS_office-environment-man-on-phone

Try the following changes to create an environment better suited for your eyes:

  • Change lighting in the office to reduce glare and harsh reflections.
  • Cover windows with adjustable blinds.
  • Use matte finishes on walls, floors, and furniture to avoid glare.
  • Re-position the computer roughly an arm’s length away, directly in front of the face, not off to the side.
  • Turn down the brightness on all your screens, and tilt your computer screen slightly.

Don’t Forget To Blink!

Blinking is very important. On average a person blinks 20 times a minute, but someone working or staring at a screen only blinks 7 times per minute.

Eyes remaining open for longer will result in the cornea dehydrating, while the eyes begin to burn or ache. Be mindful when working at your desk and blink as often as you remember.

Step Away From The Screen

stare-into-distance

Rule of thumb should be to look away from your screen every 20 minutes. Stare at an object 20ft away from where you are seated for around 20 seconds.

You can also take a 10 minute ‘bathroom’ break. Otherwise, be sure to get up and walk away at least every 2 hours.

This break allows your eyes to reset and return to its natural functions, escaping the screen strain.

Do Some Eye Exercises

Bring a pen as close to your eyes as possible while still being able to focus on the object clearly. Then focus on an object 10 feet away from you. Repeat this exercise for 3 to 5 minutes several times per day.

Covering your eyes with the palms of your hands blocks out the light completely. “Palming” is one of the most relaxing things you can do for your eyes. Do this for 1-3 minutes several times a day (minimum 5-7 times a day).

Potatoes

Potatoes aren’t just great for making fries. They are also good for your eyes!

This may sound odd, but placing potato slices on your closed eyes for 20 minutes will work wonders. If your eyes are burning, itchy and irritated, this old home remedy just might help you.

Raw potato has drying and disinfectant properties, as well as being a rich source of vitamin C. Storing some potato slices in a bowl of water in the fridge for 30 minutes will help sooth your eyes when you place them over your eyelids.

Rose Water 

Rose water can be used as eye drops. It has a natural relaxing and soothing effect on tired, fatigued eyes.

Change Your Lifestyle

There are several Natural Remedies For Chronic Migraines that will help if you are a sufferer, but headaches caused from eyestrain are self-inflicted.

In order to stop sacrificing your health, you will have to consider sacrificing some of your habits, or even some of your lifestyle. Whether out of necessity due to your career or purely just as a means of relaxation, too much screen time is one of the most dangerous and misunderstood phenomena of the 21st century.

Laptop in bed

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