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Have you been experiencing red, watery eyes and headaches? Learn the best tips for avoiding eye strain by reading this month’s Toolbox Topic. 

Eye strain is a form of eye discomfort which occurs when you overuse your eye muscles. Any muscle held in one position for too long will strain. Computer eye strain symptoms occur because the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform the task.

Signs and symptoms of computer eye strain:

  • headaches
  • blurred or double vision
  • squinting to see clearly
  • pain in and around the eyes
  • dry eyes that feel scratchy/gritty
  • red, watery eyes
  • light sensitivity
  • burning sensation when you close your eyes
  • aching heaviness of the eyelids or forehead, especially around the eyebrows
  • muscle spasms in muscles around eyes
  • twitching of eyelids
  • driving and/or night vision worse after using computer
  • halo’s appear around objects on computer screen

To manage and prevent computer eye strain:

  • Sit about 60-80cm or an arm’s length away from the computer monitor with the top of the screen level with your forehead.
  • Use an adjustable chair to achieve correct monitor eye level and back support.
  • Adjust the brightness of the screen relative to the amount of lighting in the room or use a glare reduction screen on the monitor if needed.
  • Blink often to keep your eyes hydrated.
  • Take regular breaks from using the computer. Look away from the screen and move them up, down and to both sides. Cover eyes with your hands for 10-15 seconds.
  • If problems persist, have your eyes examined by an Optometrist who can rule out the possibility of eye disease as the cause of your symptoms.
  • If you recognise that your symptoms are caused by eye strain, modify your tasks to reduce or eliminate the eye strain. Frequently resting your eyes and getting specialist advice will alleviate symptoms.