Five Ways to Prevent Eye Strain

Five Ways to Prevent Eye Strain

Eye strainshutterstock_94941571, or eye fatigue, is not a serious condition nor does it damage your vision, but the symptoms can be uncomfortable. Red, burning, watering eyes and tension headaches are just some of the signs that your eyes are fatigued and need some rest. In his latest post, Colorado ophthalmologist Dr. Gary Foster shares five helpful tips for preventing eye strain in everyday life.

1. Protect Your Eyes While Driving

Since we use our eyes constantly while driving — reading road signs, checking our peripheral vision for other motorists, gauging the traffic up ahead — experiencing eye strain while driving is a particularly common occurrence. Wear polarized sunglasses with full UV protection lenses to minimize glare from the sun as well as from the road and other reflective objects. If you’re driving long distances, take frequent breaks where you can rest with your eyes closed for five or 10 minutes at a time.

2. Get into Good Habits with Technology

Digital eye strain is the term coined for taxing your eyes as a result of prolonged exposure to digital screens, such as computer screens, smartphones and tablets. A good rule of thumb to follow is the “20-20-20 rule,” which suggests that you look away from the screen every 20 minutes for about 20 seconds at an object approximately 20 or more feet away. This will cause your eyes to focus for distance viewing, which will simultaneously relax the eye muscles used for near distance vision. It will also cause you to blink at a more rapid rate (as our blink rate tends to slow when staring at a screen), which will refresh the moisture in your eyes.

3. Be Mindful with Your Lighting

Avoid straining your eyes by controlling the amount of glare in your environment. Anti-glare computer screens, especially if they’re flat screens (which are not as reflective as older types of monitor screens), will help. If possible, swap harsh fluorescent lighting with floor lamps, which provide indirect light that won’t be as intense on your eyes. And whether it’s at home or in the office, position your TV or computer monitor so that windows are to the side of (rather than directly behind) it; this will prevent your eyes from straining to see the screen through the bright sunlight coming in from the windows.

4. Take Breaks to Relax Your Eyes

Taking frequent breaks throughout the day, especially if you are working on the computer or some other near-vision task for most of it, will help alleviate eye strain and relax your eyes. Get up from your desk and take a short walk around the office, making it a point to look at objects in the far distance. Use artificial tears to restore moisture in your eyes. If possible, find a quiet space during your day where you can apply a warm, clean compress to your closed eyes.

5. Consider LASIK Surgery

Are your eyes feeling fatigued even after implementing the above habits? Persistent eye strain symptoms (tired, itching and/or burning eyes, tension headaches, etc.) may mean you need your prescription updated. Instead, why not take the time to find out more about the LASIK procedure, which provides clear vision that eliminates dependence on glasses or contacts? To learn more about LASIK, schedule an appointment with Dr. Foster when you call (970) 419-2693.

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