Optometrist Questions Dry Eye

I am experiencing eye strain from overusing computers. What to do?

I have a job that requires me to work on the computer for nearly 18 hours a day. I am feeling a lot of strain in my eyes off late. What can I do to reduce this strain.

15 Answers

Please see your optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination.
I recommend an eye examination. During the exam, your doctor can help determine your problem. You may need a prescription or you may have binocular problems that eyeglasses can help alleviate your symptoms. It can be related to age factor. Patient over 40 yrs will need reading glasses.

Vinnie Tieu, O.D.
Many factors cause eye strain: incorrect prescription, unequal vision between the eyes, eye misalignment, dry eyes (eyes don’t blink as frequently when staring at the screen), too much (or not enough) contrast between screen and surroundings, font size too small, damaging blue light effect (blue rays from electronic screen affect the retina and sleep pattern), incorrect neck and body posture. For relief, wear correct eyeglass or contact lens prescription; apply eye lubricant or warm compresses; adjust monitor contrast levels, font size and surrounding lighting condition; use blue tech lenses for protection against blue rays; adjust neck and body posture. Apply the 20/20/20 rule: after 20 min of computer work, look away from the screen at a distance further than 20 feet, for at least 20 seconds. Best solution: see an eye doctor knowledgeable in this field.
Setting up your computer workstation to optimize the visual ergonomics can be helpful. Computer glasses may also help. Here is an article on the subject. https://totaleyecare.com/computer-glasses-eye-strain/
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends the 20/20/20 rule. Roughly every 20 minutes look at something 20ft or more away for 20 seconds to allow your eyes to rest.
If you do not wear glasses, I would see your optometrist to see if you need computer glasses. If you already wear glasses I would recommend using an artificial tear (Systane or Refresh) four times a day, especially while working.
Take vision breaks (every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds). Remember to blink frequently and put in artificial tears throughout the day (the normal blank rate is 17 blinks per minute and when you are using the computer that drops to about three blinks per minute). Use a blue blocking filter on your computer screen if available, and invest in computer glasses that are designed to minimize digital eye strain. Your local eye doctor and optician can help you find what will best fit your needs.
Visit your Optometrist and have an eye examination.
Taking scheduled breaks from the computer is important. There is a 20-20-20 rule which means every 20 minutes look away at 20 feet for 20 seconds. Also I recommend getting computer glasses for anyone using the computer more than 3-4 hours a day. Computer glasses have a prescription customized for your eyes to alleviate eye strain and help focus while using the computer. You would need to go to your eye doctor for the prescription.
Usually two possible causes of computer eye strain. One is dry eye. We blink on average 15 times a minute under normal circumstances. At a computer however, this is reduced to about 3-4 x per minute. Placing artificial tears in your eyes every 4 hours can help this. The other cause is eye strain, either glare, or focusing issues. Getting a pair of computer glasses can help reduce this. Usually they are a low power of readers (depending on your prescription) and you can get a anti-reflective and HRT coating to block the UV blue end of the spectrum. Your eye doctor should offer this at their office.
You need to relax your eyes every 20 minutes, and take a 5 minute break to walk around and look far away. This should help to reduce the eyestrain from overusing the computer. If you're wearing glasses, then you should consider visiting your local optometrist and ask about computer glasses, which may relax your eyes even more while you are working at your computer.
Computers (and cell phones and tablets) can be very visually fatiguing, especially when used for long durations. My first recommendation would be to try and work frequent visual breaks into your day. We often talk about the 20/20 rule: take a 20 second break, every 20 minutes and look 20 feet away. Just breaking the focusing system for a bit can go a long way towards relieving some eye strain.

Also, if you are a glasses-wearer, having a blue-blocking lens, or adjusting the screen color towards the red end of the color spectrum, can help with eye fatigue.

Lastly, some people who have very specific visual demands for their job may benefit from a special glasses prescription, specifically tuned for their visual focusing ability at a specific distance.

I hope you are able to find some relief soon!

Be well,
Dr. EM
As a specialist in dealing with dry eyes, I come across this question frequently. Typically, because of extended computer use, the human eye does not blink as it should due to the amount of concentration when doing this type of work. There are a multitude of remedies but they vary depending on the severity of the issue.
Hi, thanks for your question.
Firstly, please have an eye test to make sure that's the only reason your eyes feel strained. Secondly, try and have a break from your computer, follow the 20-20-20 rule which is: every 20 mins, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away.
Frequent blinking, hydration, use of artificial tears, taking frequent breaks from the computer screen.