Feeling the strain? Many of us are. The shift to remote work and the increasing hours we spend on our devices generally have many of us experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.
You might even notice your kids rubbing their eyes or complaining of headaches. These are both symptoms of eye strain, which can also cause blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. You can take steps to reduce eye strain symptoms for everyone in your family, starting by booking an appointment to come see us at one of our clinics.
Have your eyes checked.
If you work on a computer or your family uses devices for a significant portion of their day, checking your eyes is a good idea. Our optometrists are trained to identify and treat symptoms of eye strain and can help reduce discomfort. Alberta Health Care covers yearly exams for children until age 19, and your insurance provider may offer additional benefits.
Be ready to answer questions about what you’re experiencing. Take note of when your symptoms started and whether or not they’ve changed or become more severe. We may ask you how much time you spend on devices or a computer daily. Knowing what relieves your symptoms and when you last had your vision checked is also helpful.
Screens have high visual demands because of glare and reflections, reduced sharpness and contrast of letters, and different viewing distances from other reading and writing tasks. All of this can contribute to eye strain. However, having your eyes checked if you’re experiencing strain is essential to rule out uncorrected vision problems that can increase the symptoms of eye strain.
What does the exam involve?
Our clinics welcome patients of all ages. We have a team of exceptional optometrists who are skilled in identifying a wide variety of visual impairments and syndromes. Most of our patients find eye exams to be a very pleasant experience.
A comprehensive exam will begin with your history, including any medications you’re on and symptoms you have. We will measure visual acuity, check for refractive errors (near- or farsightedness or astigmatism), and test how your eyes work together. We can also address any other concerns you may have.
What is the treatment?
Proper eyewear can help reduce eye strain. Ask our optometrists about glasses and lenses better suited to computer work. We fit you with eyewear that offers ergonomic design, coatings, or tints that can help.
Additionally, vision therapy treats specific problems that can’t be corrected with lenses. You may be able to train your eyes and brain to work together effectively and improve deficiencies in eye movement and focusing.
If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms, we can recommend artificial tears that will keep your eyes well-lubricated and prevent the recurrence of your symptoms. Avoid over-the-counter drops formulated to remove redness, as they may intensify the dryness.
What else can I do?
In addition to having one of our highly trained optometrists evaluate your eyes and make specific recommendations for your symptoms, there are some things you can do at home and work to reduce the occurrence of eye strain for your family.
If you’re using computers or devices, limit your time and take regular breaks. This allows your eyes to rest and focus at different distances.
It’s preferable to work in a softly lit room and to avoid severe overhead lights and bright windows. An anti-glare cover can be placed on your screen to reduce glare and reflections that can strain your eyes. Play around with your screen settings to find a brightness level that works for you.
Children should be spending time on activities that don’t involve screens. Include alternatives like reading books and playing outside daily.
If you or someone in your family is experiencing symptoms of eye strain, an important first step is to make an appointment to see one of our optometrists. We can identify if an underlying condition is contributing to your eye strain and if so, offer treatment options or corrective lenses that can reduce your symptoms.
Screens are an inevitable part of our daily lives, but eye strain discomfort shouldn’t be. We’re here to help.