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What are the Different Eye Stress Symptoms?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Eye stress symptoms include vision problems, as well as more abstract symptoms like fatigue that people may not immediately connect with eye strain. Evaluation for stress usually involves a doctor's visit and detailed discussion of the symptoms being experienced. If a doctor believes a patient has eye stress, eye exercises and other measures can be recommended to alleviate the stress. This usually includes adjustments to working habits designed to limit stress on the eyes.

People with eye stress may experience blurred vision, trouble shifting focus from nearby objects to distant ones, and itching, burning, or watery eyes. The eyes may feel sore and symptoms like spasms, sensitivity to light, and dryness can be experienced as well. Usually, the eye stress symptoms grow worse during visually intensive tasks.

More generally, eye stress symptoms can include symptoms like headaches, neck pain, and fatigue. These symptoms will become more intense over time if the source of the stress is not identified and addressed. People may notice a decline in the quality of their work, the result of poor visual and mental focus, and sometimes behavioral changes are noted by people around the patient. The fatigue and eye irritation can make people feel short tempered or annoyed.

If eye stress symptoms appear to be developing, there are some steps people can take. Adjusting the work environment to make it as ergonomic as possible is usually helpful; computer screens should be positioned in areas with low glare, for example, and bright lights shouldn't shine directly in the eyes. In addition, it is advisable to do regular eye exercises, including periodically looking away from close visual tasks like reading and using the computer to focus on distant objects. Closing the eyes to rest them can be helpful, as can doing exercises like rolling the eyes. Moving around may be beneficial, as people with eye stress are often seated in the same position for extended periods of time and can develop fatigue as a result of that as well.

Persistent eye stress symptoms may need to be evaluated by a doctor. Patients can get specific advice on modifying their habits and environment to address sources of strain, and a doctor may recommend other steps like using warm compresses on the eyes to ease soreness. Eye stress can become repetitive in nature, exposing patients to the risk of potential complications over time as their eyes are stressed, partially recover, and then become stressed again. Any vision changes, including losing vision, seeing floaters, or experiencing double vision, should be brought up with a doctor.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Apr 08, 2014

Eye strain is often related to a reduction in vision. Even when you don't notice loss in vision it can be occurring, and eye strain symptoms may be the body's way of telling you that the time has come to see an eye doctor. Corrective lenses often eliminate eye strain when they are worn as prescribed.

By Laotionne — On Apr 07, 2014

Studies have shown that eye strain in some people can be eliminated or reduced when they relax. Reading and other visual tasks often result in people tightening the eye and face muscles. This is often done without the knowledge of the person completing the task.

Maybe you have noticed how some people get an intense look or frown on their faces when they are concentrating on an activity. This can result in extra stress being put on the eye muscles and lead to eye strain.

Of course, relaxing still doesn't eliminate many of the other factors that cause eye strain, so it is not a 100 percent remedy.

By Feryll — On Apr 07, 2014

It doesn't happen often, maybe once a year, but I sometimes get styes above my eye on the eye lid. I can't say for certain why these pimples develop, but mine seem to occur when I do a lot of reading, TV watching and computer surfing.

Styes are related to bacteria in the nasal passages, but it is also believed that they can be caused by eye stress. They are very uncomfortable and more than a little disconcerting, but there appears to be no real danger associated with them. Mine usually go away after a few days. I have found that wearing an eye patch over the affected eye helps with the discomfort.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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