Eye Care

How To Relieve Eye Strain?

Eye strain has become a big source of concern all over the world in the past few years. There are a number of reasons for this; however, the most important to consider is the advancements in the digital industry. These advancements have promoted the use of digital devices for leisure purposes and their use in the workplace. 

While individuals above a particular age group previously only used mobile phones, however now this is used by individuals belonging to all age groups. Data shows that at least two-thirds of the individuals living in the United States who are aged between 30 and 49 years old spend five or more hours on their devices. (1)

Generally, eye strain can be diagnosed by a trained health expert. Once this has been diagnosed, a number of treatment and management options are available – the majority of which rely upon non-invasive methods, which may include eye massage, cooling, and heating procedures. This article will focus on the methods used to relieve eye strain and how effective technologies with these methods can prove to be. 

What Is Eye Strain, And How Does It Make You Feel?

Eye strain is when our eyes start to feel fatigued or tired from continuous use. Individuals with eye strain primarily complain of a feeling or sense of discomfort.

Symptoms Of Eye Strain

This general feeling of discomfort may be accompanied by slight redness, itching, and watering of the eyes. Individuals with eye strain also complain of their eyes continuously feeling dry. In addition to eye dryness, a common symptom of eye strain is blurry vision. The individuals mainly complain of blurry vision, which may alternate with clear vision. The alternation between clear and blurry vision interferes with the individual's ability to concentrate and work for long periods of time. This may be improved with rest. 

Another common symptom that individuals with eye strain may report is that the individuals may be very sensitive to light and complain of experiencing glare as well. This keeps the individual from keeping their eyes open and may also lead to frequent headaches and sore neck. (2) (3)

Other than the eye-related symptoms, the individuals may also experience several extraocular symptoms. These may include neck pain, shoulder pain, back aches, and other musculoskeletal problems. (4)

What Promotes Eye Strain?

The causative factors of eye strain are important to know, as the management of these factors can lead to an effective resolution of the symptoms. 

Prolonged Use Of Digital Devices

Staring at a screen for a longer period of time can cause eye strain experienced by individuals. People who indulge in an hour and hours of screen time, whether it is at home for pleasure or at work, are more likely to have eyestrain. Data shows increasing use of digital screens by children, adults, and elderly populations all over the world. Increasing screen time is the most common cause of eye strain in the world today. (5)

Another reason for increased screen time leading to eye strain is that studies show that when an individual is looking at the screen of their computer, mobile phone, or another digital device, they are less likely to blink. This lack of blinking causes dryness of the eyes and, eventually, eye strain. (6)

Concentrating For Long Periods Of Time

Concentrating or focusing on an object for long periods of time can put excessive strain on the eyes and is amongst the most commonly reported reasons for eye strain. Whether it is during long drives where the individual is required to look at the road for hours or a work environment where they are required to read or type their laptop – eye strain is a common consequence of both.

Bright Or Dim Lights

When you are in an environment where the lights are either too bright or too dim, it may lead to the development of eye strain. When the intensity of light is above 1000 lx, it may interfere with an individual ability to concentrate and requires their eyes to work harder to make sense of the words or objects in front of them. The extra effort put in by the individual eventually causes more of the muscles around their eyes to be used to help them focus and, eventually, the development of eye strain. (7)

Stress Or Anxiety

When we feel fatigued or stressed, we are more likely to have eye strain than when we are in a relaxed environment. This is because stress and anxiety can make several changes in our body, one of which is the release of adrenaline. Higher levels of adrenaline in the body can eventually put excessive pressure on the eyes and promote blurring of the vision and eye strain. Hence individuals who are diagnosed with anxiety or suffer from stress due to their work environments on a daily basis are more likely to suffer from eye strain. (8)

Ways To Prevent Eyestrain

Other ways through which we may be able to prevent and manage eye strain include limiting daily screen time, taking frequent breaks in between work, and adjusting the lights of the environment we are working in. 

Using Proper Lighting

Individuals in the workplace who are required to use digital devices for long periods of time should try to use these in proper lighting. The lighting should neither be too bright nor too low. Being in environments with illumination over 1000 lx can reduce overall performance and lower the individual's productivity. (9) Similarly, the contrast setting also plays an important role. The contrast setting, considered the most eye-friendly and led to high productivity, lies between 60% and 70%.

Setting The Screen Resolution

Moreover, with the help of an expert, they should also try to set the image parameters on their screen. This may include screen resolution, text size, contrast, and overall luminance. Taking frequent breaks in between is also important. 

Taking Frequent Breaks

The way in which this may be done is by shifting your attention to other things and activities around you every 20 minutes. For example, when you feel like you are getting too exhausted, you may benefit by focusing your attention from the screen to an object that is 20 feet away. You may look at the object for at least 20 seconds before switching your attention back to the screen. This may be repeated whenever you feel your eyes strain again. While switching your attention, following the 20-20-20 rule may be enough; the individual may also benefit by taking a walk outside in nature. 

Limiting screen time to 4 Hours

Since overuse of digital devices is considered among the most common causes of eyestrain, their moderate use is often the most frequent recommendation. This may be achieved by limiting the daily screen time to less than 4 hours. In addition, screen time may be limited by using screen time trackers, which may be available as separate devices or may be incorporated into your phones as well. These trackers encourage an individual to spend less time on their phones or digital devices. 

Blinking Exercises

An average individual spends more than 5 hours staring at the screen of their digital devices today. This can lead to a reduction of more than 50% in their blinking rate. The reduced blinking may not only promote dryness of the eyes but eventual eye strain as well. Therefore, individuals with reduced blinking rates may be recommended to practice blinking exercises. (10) The two most common blinking exercises practiced include the Close-pause-pause-open-relax exercise and the close-pause-pause-sqeeze-open-relax exercise. 

The first exercise involves the individuals gently closing their eyes without squeezing them. They must then keep their eyes closed for two seconds. After this, they will slowly open their eyes. For effective results, they should repeat this at least five times. The second exercise involves the gentle closing of the eyes. The individual is then required to keep their eyes closed for 2 seconds, after which they may squeeze them slowly. After this, they can open their eye slowly and repeat the previous steps at least five times. 

Lubricating Eye Drops

Lubricating eye drops, which are also known as artificial tears, are one of the ways through which eye strain may be avoided. The use of lubricating eye drops after a discussion with a health professional can keep the individual from getting dry eyes – which in turn also prevents eye strain. (11)

How Can Eye Strain Be Treated?

Eye strain can interfere with an individual's productivity, ability to concentrate, and in some cases, ability to see. Loss of focus, discomfort in the neck, and blurry vision may be problems for working adults and children or the elderly with increased screen time. The most common methods that have been historically used for treating eye strain include gentle massage, warm compression, and cold compression of the eyes. Eye Tech Mask is a technology recently introduced to relieve eye strain and includes these three methods – making it one of the most popular and recommended eye strain treatments used today. 

What Makes Eye Tech Mask Effective For Relieving Eye Strain?

The Eye Tech Mask is an eye massager that is mobile-powered and is found to be particularly effective for eye strain. It works by helping the individual achieve better sleep and allows the individual to feel more relaxed. The eye tech mask involves gentle vibrations and other unique features that allow the individual to get immediate relief from eye strain. These features include warm compression, cold compression, the ability to block light, waterproof design, and its ability to be folded. In addition, the portable design of the eye tech mask allows it to be carried everywhere with the individual, making it convenient to use. 

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How Does Warm Compression Relieve Eye Strain?

The heating system in the eye tech mask allows a heating effect of up to 113 degrees F, which helps improve sleep and boosts blood circulation around the eyes. In addition, when gentle heat energy is applied to the eyes, it promotes vasodilation and regulation of sleep. 

How Does Gentle Massage Relieve Eye Strain?

It also includes a massage motor, which has the ability to produce 7000 soft vibrations every minute. These vibrations are gentle enough to provide a relaxing experience to the user. In addition, the soft vibration caused by the eye tech mask also helps promote blood circulation. What makes this important is that the blood circulation of the eye is responsible for fulfilling the nutritional requirements of the retina. This promotes the retinal functioning of the individual and keeps the vision intact.

How Does Cold Compression Relieve Eye Strain?

The cold compress inlay gel includes in the eye tech mask holds its unique benefits for the eye and may also play a role in relieving eye strain. The cooling effect provided by this gel helps to control any inflammatory activity in the eye and helps soothe the overused muscles. In fact, the use of hypothermia and cooling effect for the eye is not recent but has been used for thousands of years. Studies have shown cooling therapy to be effective in different healthcare fields, including brain trauma, stroke, and ischemic injuries. Moreover, hypothermia works by preserving the living tissues inside the body and improving their survival chances for longer. For the field of ophthalmology specifically, cooling therapy or hypothermia may be used for the preservation of scleral and corneal tissues. (12)

Conclusion

Eye Strain can be a source of concern as it may not only promote eye fatigue, redness, and irritation but holds the potential to affect the individual's everyday life. In addition, it keeps us from giving our best due to the inability to focus and concentrate – whether it is at work or at school. Therefore, preventative measures like taking frequent breaks and limiting screen time, along with using management tools like the Eye Tech Masks, are recommended by health experts for effectively relieving eye strain. 

References

1. Kaur, K., Gurnani, B., Nayak, S., Deori, N., Kaur, S., Jethani, J., Singh, D., Agarkar, S., Hussaindeen, J. R., Sukhija, J., & Mishra, D. (2022). Digital Eye Strain- A Comprehensive Review. Ophthalmology and therapy, 11(5), 1655–1680. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40123-022-00540-9

2. Loh, K., & Redd, S. (2008). Understanding and preventing computer vision syndrome. Malaysian family physician : the official journal of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia, 3(3), 128–130.

3. Sheedy, J. E., Hayes, J. N., & Engle, J. (2003). Is all asthenopia the same?. Optometry and vision science : official publication of the American Academy of Optometry, 80(11), 732–739. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006324-200311000-00008

4. Hakala, P. T., Saarni, L. A., Punamäki, R. L., Wallenius, M. A., Nygård, C. H., & Rimpelä, A. H. (2012). Musculoskeletal symptoms and computer use among Finnish adolescents--pain intensity and inconvenience to everyday life: a cross-sectional study. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 13, 41. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-13-41

5. Trott, M., Driscoll, R., Irlado, E., & Pardhan, S. (2022). Changes and correlates of screen time in adults and children during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine, 48, 101452. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101452

6. Golden MI, Meyer JJ, Patel BC. Dry Eye Syndrome. [Updated 2022 Jun 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470411/

7. Theruveethi, N., Bui, B. V., Joshi, M. B., Valiathan, M., Ganeshrao, S. B., Gopalakrishnan, S., Kabekkodu, S. P., Bhat, S. S., & Surendran, S. (2022). Blue Light-Induced Retinal Neuronal Injury and Amelioration by Commercially Available Blue Light-Blocking Lenses. Life (Basel, Switzerland), 12(2), 243. https://doi.org/10.3390/life12020243

8. Chu B, Marwaha K, Sanvictores T, et al. Physiology, Stress Reaction. [Updated 2022 Sep 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541120/

9. Liu, P., Zafar, F., & Badano, A. (2014). The effect of ambient illumination on handheld display image quality. Journal of digital imaging, 27(1), 12–18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10278-013-9636-1

10. Kim, A. D., Muntz, A., Lee, J., Wang, M. T. M., & Craig, J. P. (2021). Therapeutic benefits of blinking exercises in dry eye disease. Contact lens & anterior eye : the journal of the British Contact Lens Association, 44(3), 101329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clae.2020.04.014

11. Coles-Brennan, C., Sulley, A., & Young, G. (2019). Management of digital eye strain. Clinical & experimental optometry, 102(1), 18–29. https://doi.org/10.1111/cxo.12798

12. Wang, H., Olivero, W., Wang, D., & Lanzino, G. (2006). Cold as a therapeutic agent. Acta neurochirurgica, 148(5), 565–570. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00701-006-0747-z

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