Digital fatigue can have a mighty impact on our eyes as it often results in eye strain and this causes a number of unpleasant symptoms. Your eyes may feel tired, itchy and they may sting or burn. You might also notice that your eyes are red and watering. These symptoms indicate that you may be suffering from Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a very common condition that occurs when your tears don’t lubricate your eyes well. This can happen for a number of reasons, for example if you don’t produce enough tears or if the tears you produce are not able to lubricate your eyes well.
Dry Eye Syndrome often occurs when the tears you are producing evaporate too quickly. This can happen when you are working at a computer or staring at a screen. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) focusing on your screen makes you blink about 5 to 10 times a minute instead of the normal rate of about 15 times a minute. When our eyes are open for longer, tears have more time to evaporate and less time to reform and lubricate our eyes, hence we begin to experience the unpleasant symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome.
Luckily, in the majority of cases, Dry Eye Syndrome and visual fatigue are easy to treat.
These 5 tips can help to alleviate the symptoms of visual fatigue:
1. Blink more often
When working at a computer for prolonged periods of time, practice regular blinking. Regular blinking ensures that you are spreading the lubricating tear film which keeps your eyes hydrated and comfortable.
2. If you wear contact lenses, consider swapping brand or wearing your glasses sometimes
Since contact lenses can reduce the amount of oxygen that your eyes receive, prolonged use of contact lenses and sitting at a screen without blinking as often as you should could lead to symptoms of dry eyes. If your contact lenses are drying out your eyes too much when you are using your computer consider swapping to another brand of contact lenses, like Alcon’s Dailies Total 1’s which allow more oxygen to reach your eyes. Alternatively, you can wear your glasses sometimes.
3. Use lubricating eye drops liberally
One of the easiest ways to combat dry eye is to use lubricating eyes drops or artificial tears. Artificial tears, like Systane Hydration, add the moisture that your eyes are lacking. Simply add a few drops when your eyes feel dry and enjoy immediate and long-lasting relief. Systane Hydration lubricant eye drops are designed to soothe and lubricate dry and gritty eyes. Systane Hydration can be used with all soft contact lenses, including silicone hydrogel lenses.
4. Adjust the quality of the air around you
A small humidifier kept close to you will add more moisture into the air around you. Adding moisture to the air around you is one way to help keep your eyes more comfortable as this will help to keep them hydrated. If your eyes are dry, move away from fans and air conditioners that blow air towards your face. Also, avoid smoking as the smoke will cause further irritation to your eyes.
5. Stay hydrated!
Dehydration could cause your eyes to feel more dry if you are staring at a computer for a prolonged period of time. Ensure that you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and avoid drinking an excessive amount of caffeinated drinks.
When in doubt or if your symptoms are not going away, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. Your pharmacist can offer further guidance and your eye doctor can investigate and even offer more intensive treatment.