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What Causes Eye Fatigue?

Tired, burning, red eyes, seems to be a common problem. Especially if you find yourself burning the candle at both ends. But what is the best way to alleviate eye fatigue? Well, Identifying why your eyes are tired is the best way to answer that question. There are many different things that can cause eye fatigue. Our blog article this week will help you identify why your eyes are tired, and then give you some solutions to help fix the problem!

With our society being all about the hustle and the bustle, it’s easy to find yourself in the rat race. The constant coming and going and just trying to keep up with life can take a toll on a person’s body. It is easy for eyes to suffer from fatigue because they go to work the minute we open them. Eye fatigue is a common occurrence and happens for many reasons. Here are some common causes and solutions to the problem of tired eyes.

Not Enough Sleep Causes Eye Fatigue

Being underslept is a problem that plagues so many of us! It is such a common problem, that it has been reported that 1 out of 3 Canadians doesn’t get enough sleep in a night. That means that there are a lot of tired eyes walking around out there! Getting enough sleep in a day is an important key to having optimum body and eye health. Sleeping allows the body to restore, strengthen, and repair itself. Not getting the appropriate amount of shut-eye in a night can have unwanted effects on eye health. If you would like to know more about how lack of sleep affects the eyes and causes eye fatigue, you can read our blog article dedicated to the topic – here!

The Remedy: Unfortunately, the only way to solve eye fatigue caused by lack of sleep, is to get more sleep. This is sometimes easier said than done.

One of the best ways to try and get a better sleep is to reduce the amount of digital device and screen time before bedtime.

Eye Strain

Not enough sleep causes eyestrain. But lack of sleep does not cause all eyestrain. Overworking the eyes by intensely concentrating on visual tasks can cause eye fatigue. Reading, driving, or using a digital device are all examples of common tasks that can cause eye strain.

Using the wrong prescription or having an uncorrected prescription can also cause eye fatigue. This is because the eyes are always having to work to keep focused. Often, a person may not even be aware that they need a prescription. Or, if they already have glasses they may not know that they need a change in prescription.

Changes in vision can be hard to notice for many reasons. Sometimes it is because there may be a change in vision in only one eye. The other eye may be compensating for the eye with the vision change, making it harder to detect. Even though vision may be clear when looking through both eyes, eyestrain and headaches may occur if the need for a prescription goes uncorrected. Also, people may notice a change more if their vision gets worse, but a change may be less noticeable if vision improves. An improvement in an eyeglass prescription or decrease in power can often make it more comfortable to see at certain distances and can also reduce eye fatigue and strain!

The Remedy: Routine eye exams are the best way to ensure you are using the best prescription for your vision. It is recommended that children and seniors have annual routine eye exams because their eyes tend to change more quickly. For everyone else between the ages of 19 and 64, it is recommended to have routine eye exams every 2 years. However, these numbers are just a guide. Your optometrist will determine what the best frequency for your visits are based on your own personal history.

Digital Eye Fatigue

Digital eye fatigue is eyestrain caused by using digital devices such as smartphones, computers, or tablets. Because the use of electronic devices in today’s society is so prevalent, digital eye fatigue is a widespread problem. A survey from 2015 by the Vision Council reported that 65% of adults in America reported having symptoms related to using digital devices.

When we view electronic devices for extended periods of time the eyes may become tired from over accommodating to focus. When we concentrate intensely on tasks at near, we also tend to blink less. The reduction in blinking and over accommodating to see can cause eyes to quickly tire.

The Remedy: There are quite a few different solutions to help combat digital eye fatigue;

  • Wear eyewear with lenses that are specific to using digital devices. These lenses usually have a special reading addition built into the lens to help keep eyes rested. The lenses also come with special coatings to prevent harm from the blue light emitted from computer screens.
  • 20-20-20 Rule – For every 20 minutes of near work, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at an object which is 20 feet away.
  • Increase the font size on digital devices to make text easier to see and read
Article written by Trina Vanaalst, Licensed Optician & Contact Lens Practitioner


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