What are the Different Eye Strain Symptoms?

Matt Brady

The most common eye strain symptoms include soreness and irritation as well as blurry vision and a sensitivity to light. Twitching is another one of the most common eye strain symptoms. Eyes may also feel heavy, and appear red and puffy. These days, many cases of eye strain are induced by staring at a computer monitor day in and day out. Such cases often display further symptoms, such as difficulty reading text on a printed page after reading on a computer and continuing to see images even after looking away from the monitor.

Wearing glasses with the right prescription can often help prevent eye strain.
Wearing glasses with the right prescription can often help prevent eye strain.

Eye strain symptoms tend to develop as a result of repetitively staring at a particular object for long periods of time, such as a chalkboard or textbook. In today's world, strain often occurs from being at the computer desk for too long. Computer-associated eye strain has become so common that the condition has its own name: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Symptoms can often be resolved by taking a break from the computer. CVS symptoms are also often accompanied by a sore neck, headache, and fatigue—all predictable outcomes of intense fixation on a keyboard and monitor for extended periods of time.

Eye strain can be caused by looking at a bright screen for an extended period of time.
Eye strain can be caused by looking at a bright screen for an extended period of time.

Eye strain symptoms may also occur as a result of poor eyesight. Blurry vision and sore eyes are common symptoms associated with such cases. Fortunately, a trip to the optometrist usually can solve this problem. Optometrists can conduct vision tests and assess what prescription glasses or contact lenses are necessary to correct vision. There is also the option of corrective eye surgery, such as LASIK surgery, which offers a permanent, glasses-free solution to poor eyesight.

Consult an optometrists if you are experiencing eye strain symptoms.
Consult an optometrists if you are experiencing eye strain symptoms.

Eye strain symptoms are usually harmless. With chronic eye strain, however, there is an added risk of developing attention problems. Someone who regularly experiences eye twitching, headaches and other discomforts from focusing on objects too long may find it difficult to focus; without being able to focus, an individual may find paying attention, reading or learning painful and difficult.

Eye strain symptoms can include soreness and irritation.
Eye strain symptoms can include soreness and irritation.

If eye strain occurs from focusing too long on an object, and not from poor eyesight, then symptoms may be easy to alleviate without professional help. There are various exercises which can help relax and strengthen eye muscles. Such lessons can be sought out on the Internet or in books. Simply taking breaks to rest the eyes can also help tremendously.

Watching too much television may cause eye strain.
Watching too much television may cause eye strain.

In some cases, eye strain symptoms result from a problem with the muscles in the eye. This may be the case if one already has glasses, and if taking breaks and resting the eyes doesn't alleviate symptoms. Sometimes, problems with the eye muscles can be worked out with therapy. In other cases, they must be worked out by corrective surgery.

Soreness and irritation are often symptoms of eye strain.
Soreness and irritation are often symptoms of eye strain.

It's common for people suffering from eye strain to also experience back and neck pain. This comes from sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, hunched over while staring at a particular object. Taking frequent work breaks and developing better posture can help alleviate eye strain and back pain.

Corrective eye surgery is an option with some eye conditions.
Corrective eye surgery is an option with some eye conditions.
Many vision care centers carry prescription glasses designed to cut down on computer glare.
Many vision care centers carry prescription glasses designed to cut down on computer glare.
Staring too long at a computer screen can cause eye strain.
Staring too long at a computer screen can cause eye strain.
Neck pain may accompany an eye strain.
Neck pain may accompany an eye strain.

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

Twitching, headache and light sensitivity are my cues that I need to rest my eyes. I try not to stay on the computer too long without resting my eyes, but when that's not possible, I try to look away every now and then, and focus on an object at least 20 feet from me. That helps my eyes rest and gives them something to look at besides a computer screen.

My eye doctor said he's seeing people needing reading glasses and/or bifocals at younger ages all the time. He says he thinks it's from increased computer use, where people are using them for hours and hours at a time.

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