Eyes can become strained from focusing on the same point for an extended period of time, particularly focusing on an object at close distance. If the lighting conditions are poor, eyes can become strained more easily. Strained eyes are characterised by feeling sore and tired. It can also create headaches, blurred vision and temporary difficulty in focusing on distant objects.
Long sessions of computer work are especially likely to cause eye strain. This is because of the combination of prolonged focussing, the illuminated light of the screen, and our tendency to blink less frequently. Further, as we get older we are more likely to experience eye strain. As we get older, our visual acuity declines and the functioning of the muscles of the eye become weaker. Consequently the eyes become less responsive to light and slower to react in dark conditions. We will need brighter light and greater contrast between light and dark in order to be able to focus properly, especially for extended periods of time.
To help with eye strain, make sure to have regular rest periods when reading or using a computer and allow your eyes to focus on distant objects for a while. Try to think to blink regularly. You can also try to eliminate glare from a computer by setting your desk up so that your computer monitor is at eye level or slightly lower. Don’t put your computer in a place where light from a window shines directly onto your face or the monitor.
Eyes are particularly susceptible to free radical damage, and hence taking an antioxidant may help to maintain eye health and vision. Antioxidants important for eye health include vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. Bilberry is also useful to help relieve eye strain and eye fatigue. It can also help to maintain visual acuity and sharpness in poor light such as at night time. Bilberry contains the antioxidant compounds called anthocyanosides, which may help to strengthen and reduce the permeability of the capillaries, hence reducing damage to the microcirculation of the eye. It may also help to regenerate rhodopsion, which is the light sensitive pigment in the eye that is responsible for vision in low light. Bilberry can be found in Blackmores Bilberry Eye Strain Relief, Nature’s Own Eye Health andEyes Bright.
A higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids is also associated with better macular health. DHA is especially important, as it is an essential building block for light receptors that are required for eyesight. Omega 3 formulations that are particularly good for eye health include Eye q 500mg Gel Capsules and Swisse Ultiboost Odourless High Strength Wild Fish Oil.
Sometimes eye strain is an indication that you need to wear glasses or that the prescription of your current glasses needs to be changed. Try to see an optometrist every 1-2 years for a check-up. In particular, if you experience any change in your vision or headaches, see your healthcare professional for advice.