Tom S Chang MD on Eyestrain: Causes, Prevention, and Treatments

From time to time, people experience feelings of tiredness, soreness, or irritation in their eyes. These symptoms may be medically diagnosed as eye strain or asthenopia. Eye strain is a fairly common eye condition. It is usually temporary, with a tendency to disappear after some rest or a break from activities. Several different activities may cause eye strain. In most cases, activities that involve an intense focus on a specific thing are responsible for causing eye strain. Tom S Chang MD discusses eye strain symptoms, causes, simple prevention tips, and treatment extensively in this article.

Symptoms of Eye Strain

Eye strain symptoms may affect people in different ways. According to Tom S Chang MD, at least one of these symptoms is present in most cases of eye strain.

Headaches: In most cases of eye strain, headaches are immediate symptoms. Headaches may persist throughout the period where the eyes are strained, although this headache is usually mild.

Blurred or Double Vision: If you have begun to experience blurred or double vision after working long hours, there is a high chance that you may be experiencing eye strain.

Increased sensitivity to light: A common symptom of eye strain is increased sensitivity to light. Suppose you experience pain or discomfort when exposed to bright light. In that case, you may be experiencing a symptom of eye strain.

Neck soreness: Another standard indicator of eye strain is neck soreness. Tightening around the neck area and muscle soreness may be a sign of eye strain.

Dry Eyes: Dry eyes may be an indicator of severe eye strain. The lack of blinking caused by intense focus may sometimes lead to dry eyes.

Nausea: If you feel nauseated after long periods of intense focus, you may be experiencing eye strain.

What are the Causes of Eye Strain?

As the world becomes more advanced technologically, one of the significant causes of eye strain is the use of digital devices. Tom S Chang MD mentions that most eye strain cases were caused by a constant focus on screens in recent years. He also observes that using phones, computers, and other digital screens for long periods is usually associated with eye strain. Digital devices’ blue light is harsh on the eyes, and constant exposure to this light may cause damage over time.

Tom S Chang MD also mentions that eye strain may be caused by any activity which requires intense focus. According to Dr. Chang, activities like reading, writing, and driving can be harmful to the eyes when we engage in them for long periods. Intense concentration on any activity can strain the eyes and eventually cause fatigue.

Another common cause of eye strain is exposure to very bright lights or glares. However, eye strain can also be caused by dim lights while reading or working. Tom S Chang MD notes that if the eyes are repeatedly exposed to these conditions in either of these cases, the health of the eyes may be impacted.

Tom S Chang MD on Preventing Eye Strain

One of the easiest and most effective methods of preventing eye strain is to avoid exposing your eyes to harsh conditions, says Tom S Chang MD. In most eye strain cases, patients ignore the conditions that they subject their eyes to. Dr. Chang offers these tips for the effective prevention of eye strain.

Find the Right Light

“Not all light is good light,” explains Tom S Chang MD. Dr. Chang recommends that patients ensure that as much of their light comes from behind them as possible. If you read frequently, you may consider purchasing a light specifically designed for reading. According to Dr. Chang, taking simple steps like the above can go a long way in preventing eye strain.

Apply the 20-20-20 Rule

Tom S Chang MD, strongly encourages people to apply the 20-20-20 rule. The 20-20-20 rule encourages you to focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. According to Dr. Chang, merely observing this rule can go a long way in reducing eye strain.

Use Eye Drops

Constant focus on a task or a screen tends to reduce the number of times you blink per minute, says Dr. Chang. This reduced rate of blinking usually leads to dry eyes, which in turn may cause eye irritation. To prevent this, Tom S Chang MD advises those with jobs that require intense focus for long periods to make use of eye drops. According to Dr. Chang, artificial tears can lubricate the eyes. This lubrication helps you to blink more often, thus preventing eye strain.

Avoid Doing One Thing For A Long Period

Eyestrain can be caused by constant repetition of high focus tasks. Tom S Chang MD notes that the best way to avoid eye strain is to reduce the time spent on such tasks. By reducing the time spent on a single task, you reduce your eyes’ pressure. Dr. Chang suggests that when people have jobs that require intense focus for long periods, they should split these tasks into smaller time frames to prevent eye strain.

Get Proper Eyewear

Dr. Tom Chang mentions that in some cases, recommended eyewear may be required to prevent eye strain. Dr. Chang notes that blue light glasses, for instance, help reduce the pressure on the eyes from digital screens. It is also advisable for people with recommended eyewear to discuss any possible complications resulting from using their eyewear for long periods while focusing on tasks with their Doctor.

Adjust your device settings

While this may seem like basic advice, many people do not make any effort to ensure their device settings are favorable to their eye health. According to Tom S Chang MD, increasing your font size, setting contrast, and adjusting your screen brightness go a long way in preventing eye strain. It is also generally advised that computers should be placed at an arm’s length when being used.

Tom S Chang MD on Methods of Treatment

In most cases, eye strain is best combated with preventive measures. Tom S Chang MD advises that the best form of eye strain treatment is to prevent situations that may cause eye strain. He, however, suggests specific exercises that may help relieve eye strain;

Eye Palming: Eye palming, a technique used to reduce pressure by placing your palms over the eyes,  is a good strategy for relieving eye strain. Dr. Chang explains that eye palming helps circulate blood around the eyes quickly and allows the eyes to be closed long enough to relieve stress.

Warm Compresses: Using a warm towel to massage the area around your eye is a great way to relieve eye strain.

Blinking and Yawning: Both of these activities help relubricate the eye and relax the eye muscles.

Tom S Chang MD explains that either of these easy treatments will go a long way in helping with eye strain. If your symptoms persist, Dr. Chang encourages that you visit your ophthalmologist.

Dr. Tom Chang is a managing partner of the Acuity Eye Group. He is a renowned academic, clinician, and surgeon. Dr. Tom Chang has given over 120 lectures across the globe and published 50 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Tom Chang has focused his career on providing patients with new information on eye-related issues.