Common Eye Strain Symptoms, Relief and Causes

July 15th, 2018

Can taking a break from wearing glasses or contacts helps prevent eye strain? No! This myth has been perpetuated even though taking your glasses off can make eye strain worse. There are many misconceptions about what eye strain is, the cause, and how to relieve it…we’re going to dispel four myths about eye strain.

Myth 1: Taking Your Eyeglasses off Will Reduce Eye Strain

It’s a falsehood that taking off your glasses or removing your contacts will give your eyes a “break” to allow them to rest, thus reducing eye strain.[1] If you need your glasses or contacts to read or to see in the distance, then you should wear them. Removing them will cause you to strain your eyes even more.

Myth 2: Eye Strain is Only Caused by Staring at the Computer

Eye strain is typically caused by long, intense periods of using the eyes for visual tasks such as reading fine print, trying to see in the dark or using the computer. Some tasks such as repairing watches and jewelry can also cause eye strain.[2] Some people blink less when they use the computer, which can lead to eye dryness.

If you have refractive errors, which can be the need for glasses for near vision or distance, then you may be susceptible to eye strain. Glasses that are not the right prescription can also cause eye strain as well as being sleep deprived or stressed can make eye strain worse.

Myth 3: Eye Strain Will Only Get Worse Over Time

Although eye strain is very common, the prognosis for eye strain is remarkably good, because the symptoms do not cause any damage to the eyes. With the influx of computers in the workplace, eye strain and “computer vision syndrome” have become frequent occurrences around the office. Thankfully, if you use techniques like taking a break every 20 minutes while using the computer, blinking more frequently or using eye drops, you can relieve eye strain.[3]

Myth 4: There is No Treatment for Eye Strain

The good news is that eye strain doesn’t cause long-term damage to the eyes. Although, it can make your life unpleasant, so it’s important to try different techniques to find some relief. Something as simple as taking a break and closing your eyes can improve discomfort.

Some ways to relieve eye strain include:

  • Adjusting your lighting to maximize illumination and minimize glare
  • Taking frequent breaks to look around the room
  • Blinking more frequently
  • Massaging your temples and head while closing your eyes
  • Reducing the ambient lighting on your computer
  • Taking a walk and stretching every so often
  • Using eye drops to prevent dryness[4]

Eye strain is a common issue today, but not one that can’t be solved. Although removing your eyeglasses or contacts won’t help, there are many simple adjustments you can make to relieve eye strain. Just don’t forget to leave your glasses on while you do them!

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