Whether it is staring at the laptop computer to complete  that presentation overnight, looking down at your phone screen while scrolling down your social media feed, completing those assignments that have piled up all in one go over hours at a stretch, reading pages and pages of the textbook the night before the examination, or trying to see past the windshield on a long drive with the sun shining in your face, we’ve all been there when our eyes are playing tricks on us. Thanks to the extremely stressful and busy lives we lead, add to it, the technology that we are surrounded by, we are constantly in need of using our eyes continuously for various purposes.

This leads to what is commonly known as eyestrain. The meaning of eyestrain is simply derivable from the word itself. Eyestrain, also called ocular fatigue, and best known as asthenopia, is the condition in which the eyes become tired due to excessive or intense use. The symptoms of eyestrain are most commonly found to be pain in the eye region, mild to excruciating headache worsening upon prolonged use, dry or watering eyes, sore or burning eyes, blurred vision, altered sensitivity to light which may include viewing light as unusually dim or excessively bright, difficulty in keeping eyes open, and vertigo. Eyestrain can also lead to migraine, nausea, and irregular twitching of the facial muscles in some people. Eyestrain is rarely serious, and usually is alleviated by periodically resting your eyes, but frequent eyestrain can cause serious eyesight problems and vision impairments in the long run.



Eyestrain does not require any complicated treatment or complex remedy. You do not necessarily need glasses for alleviating eyestrain, or need to use eyedrops, unless it is absolutely a necessity, and prescribed by your doctor. In order to avoid or ameliorate eyestrain, these 4 simple techniques come in handy:

  1. Adjust the lighting optimally- whether it be reading, watching television, working on a computer, or sewing, any vision-intensive activity should be performed in adequate lighting. Adjusting the screen brightness to an ideal level is advised in order to avoid ocular fatigue. It is important to work in sufficient light in order to reduce the burden on your retina and maintain the size of your pupils. Replace the blazing white sheen of the tube lights to a subtler shade of yellow light which is in the Goldilocks zone of lighting to suit your eyes, or purchase lights with adjustable brightness in order to suit your needs.
  2.  Practice the 20-20-20 rule- The 20-20-20 rule is an essential when it comes to eyecare. It’s as simple as the numbers representing it. After every 20 minutes of hardcore activity undertaken by your eyes, exercise your eyes by looking away at a distance of 20 yards, for a duration of 20 seconds. This break helps your eye muscles refocus and readjust, thereby replenishing their flexibility. It exercises your eye muscles amply so as to avoid eye fatigue. This has been found to be an effective method of prevention of eyestrain.
  3. Monitor your blinking- Blinking swipes a layer of tears on your eyes, providing the necessary lubrication to the eyes, and sharpening your vision. In absence of periodic blinking, the eyes may get dry, and more effort is required in order to have clear and defined vision. This extra stress on your eye muscles causes eyestrain. To avoid this, ensure that you blink periodically, with breaks at spaced intervals to make sure that your eyes get the nanosecond shut-eye they need.
  4. Add colour and variation to your living space- Having a variety of colours in your surroundings can help take the weight of monochromatic exposure off the rods and cones in your retina. This means that no single part of your eye will have to work on seeing the same colour, different parts of the eye are engaged in visually interpreting colour, thus reducing the burden on your eye muscles through distribution and division of labour. Adding a plant or two, or a floral or natural aspect to your immediate environment greatly relaxes your eyes, and avoids eyestrain, while promoting eye exercise.

Your vision is one of your biggest assets. Eyestrain should not get in the way of your daily activities, or pose a threat to your general ophthalmic health.

“You see, you see, but you need to see that the fact that you see is what you need to see as a boon you never did seek. So see to it well.”