Asthenopia and Computer Work: Why Are Your Eyes So Tired and Achy?

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Asthenopia and Computer Work: Why Are Your Eyes So Tired and Achy?

If your eyes always feel extremely tired or achy after working on your computer or tablet, you may have an eye condition called asthenopia. Asthenopia (or eye strain) affects individuals who rely heavily on electronic devices for work, school or communication. Although eye strain is discouraging, you can treat and prevent it.

The following information can help you learn more about asthenopia, how it affects your vision and health and how you can alleviate your symptoms successfully.

How Does Asthenopia Affect You and Why?

Asthenopia typically occurs when you focus your eyes on a bright electronic screen for extended amounts of time, such as your laptop or smartphone. These types of electronics give off a visible short-ranged light called blue light, which can affect your eyes and body in many ways.

Unlike ultraviolet light and other long-ranged light, short-range rays produce the most energy. High-energy light has the potential to cause extensive damage to your retinas, the light-filtering tissues found in the back of your eyes. Long-term exposure to blue light may place you at risk for macular degeneration and other retinal disease.  

Blue light tends to flicker and produce glares on your screens. To see through the glares, you lean closer to your computer screen, pucker your forehead and squint your eyes to focus on your work. These actions can make the muscles around your eyes tense, which can trigger headaches, eye fatigue and neck pain.

In addition, some individuals see double or experience blurred vision when their eyes become overly tired. Although double vision is rare, it can be potentially troubling because it makes you see two of everything. With blurred vision, everything on your screen appears out-of-focus, but this symptom may alleviate once you divert your eyes.

Your blinking reflexes can potentially slow down with asthenopia. Your eyes blink in order to keep them moist. But if your eyes are tired, their blinking reflexes or responses decrease. Dry-eye syndrome is a common problem for adults who work on electronics. 

Although the problems above may seem frightening, you can treat and prevent them with the information below.

 

How Can You Treat the Symptoms of Asthenopia?

One of the things you can do at this moment is to turn off your electronic device and rest your eyes. Asthenopia won't improve or stop until you give your eyes time to recover. If this isn't possible, place blue-light filters on the screens of every electronic device you use. You want to block out as much blue light as you can.

Also, massage the muscles in your forehead and around your eye sockets to relieve your pain and achiness. Once tension builds up in your tissues, it may be difficult to relieve it. Gently massaging your facial muscles may allow healthy blood, nutrients and oxygen to circulate to them. 

You may want to reposition your monitors or devices so that they sit about 20-40 inches away from your body. If you use a tablet or smartphone for work, keep the devices at eye level. You may want to put your devices in a stand and place them on a table to help you out.

If nothing changes for you, or if you still experience pain and other symptoms, see an optometrist for further assistance. An optometrist can examine your eyes to see if you need computer eyeglasses. The eyeglasses can help reduce the glares on your screens so that you can focus on your work better.

An eye doctor may also perform a full exam on your eyes. The exam may include a computer vision test and visual-acuity test. The exams look for problems in your retinas, muscles and other critical eye tissues. 

For an appointment or more information about asthenopia, contact the offices of The Spectacle - Dr. Kevin Lenahan today.

Katy Lenahan