What is Eye Stress?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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Eye stress is a problem resulting from excessive or intense use of the eyes. The symptoms of eye stress are not always apparently related to the eyes, so the problem can be difficult to diagnose. There are a variety of exercises that can reduce stress on the eye, but the only true way to resolve the problem is to stop performing the task that is causing the stress. This type of repetitive stress injury can result in long-term damage, so it is important to look out for the symptoms relating to eye strain and resolve them right away.

Many tasks involve use of the eyes in a way that causes stress to the organ. Any task that involves looking at something small or a computer screen for an extended period of time may cause eye stress. Sometimes activities that involve a lot of focus, such as driving or playing a video game, can cause eye stress as well.


The symptoms of eye stress may include headache, dizziness, or even difficulty seeing things clearly. Depending on the person, the actual feeling in the eyes might be described as burning, itching, or heaviness. Other symptoms, such as difficulty focusing or fatigue, may be related to the activity at hand rather than the eye stress itself, but they can be made much worse by tired eyes. One way to tell what is causing these symptoms is to note when they happen, because eye strain is usually directly and noticeably tied to the activity that stresses the eye.

Relieving eye strain is usually a simple matter of stopping the activity that is causing the stress and taking a break. This is a good idea not only for the physical symptoms of eye stress but for the psychological symptoms as well. Being unable to focus one's eyes leads to additional frustration and can make the task at hand yet more difficult. Taking breaks is a good practice to work into a work day if the stress is related to computer use.

If it is necessary to continue to perform the activity causing stress to the eye, there are a few remedies that can relieve the symptoms for a short period of time. Eye drops can relieve redness and itching associated with eye strain, and caffeine can help to alleviate some of the dizziness and inability to focus. Pain relievers can help relieve any soreness or headache associated with eye strain. These remedies should not be used frequently if avoidable, because stress to the eyes can cause permanent damage.


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Post 2

I spend many hours a day on the computer, and some days I feel like my eyes can't take another minute of looking at a monitor. After reading about the symptoms of eye strain in this article, I'm convinced that was what was going on with me. I have to get up from my desk every hour or so and close my eyes. If I have to scroll through a lot of pages on a website, I look away from the monitor while the pages are moving.

I never thought of my eyes as something that could get overworked or fatigued, but I suppose all of those support muscles around the eye act like any other muscle in the body. If I do too many bicep curls at the gym, eventually my arm will collapse. If I spend too much time moving my eyes around a computer monitor, those muscles will eventually fail, too.

Post 1

My prescription glasses broke a few days ago, and I couldn't get to an optometrist until this morning. I have very bad eyesight, so I was legally blind while I waited for repairs. I kept trying to do the things I usually do, like watch television and work on the computer, but obviously it was all a giant blur to me.

I noticed after a few hours that I was getting really dizzy, and I had a bad headache. I went to my bedroom and turn off all the lights. I felt better after an hour or so. I think it was a case of eye stress or eye fatigue, even though I wasn't really using my eyes like normal. I still had many of the symptoms of eye strain, because I was trying too hard to make sense of what I was "seeing" without my glasses.

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