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Eye Strain Detection and Diagnosis

Focusing too long on a computer screen, reading in a room that is inadequately lit, driving at night or not managing conditions such as myopia, farsightedness or astigmatism can all lead to eye strain.  This happens because of the over exertion of any of the muscles in the eyes, namely the ciliary body and the six extra ocular muscles.

Remember that the ciliary body changes the shape of the lens of the eye as a person focuses on something, so it is constantly and regularly used. Fatigue may set in, and when that happens, eye strain may develop.

The effect may be persistent and enduring and may negatively impact a person’s daily activity. It is therefore important to monitor it, especially given the fact that diagnosing eye strain is a relatively simple matter.

Things to Do when Diagnosing Eye Strain

Observe the Symptoms

The first thing to do is check for all possible symptoms. These symptoms usually become manifest only when a person is undergoing a vision intensive activity. Some of the possible symptoms include the following:

•    Back aches
•    Blurred eyesight
•    Burning eyes
•    Car nausea
•    Dizziness
•    Double vision
•    Dry eyes
•    Eye twitch
•    Headache
•    Heavy eyelids
•    Neck ache
•    Problems when reading
•    Sore eyes
•    Watery eyes.

Trace Recent Activities

The symptoms listed above will most probably appear only after an intense visual activity.  Take time to list down all the activities that were conducted in the hour before the appearance of the symptoms.

Narrow Down the Possible Causes

Using the list of activities that was recorded in the previous step, you can now identify which specific activity had caused the stress that brought about the eye strain.  Remove the suspect activity from your daily tasks or move it to another time of the day. Check if the symptoms persist.

The process may be tedious, but this simple trial and error process is the best way to verify the cause.

Seek Professional Diagnosis and Medical Help

There are specific tests specially designed to determine if a person has eye strain.  A regular eye exam must be conducted especially if the symptoms have become constant and persistent.

If the cause is a problem with the anatomy of the person’s eye, an optometrist can recommend solutions to solve or alleviate the patient’s condition. Myopia, farsightedness and astigmatism can all be solved using glasses or contact lens. Surgical options may also be given, such as laser eye surgery or ReLex. Correcting one’s vision problem will do a lot to help reduce eye strain.

On the other hand, if the cause of the problem is merely environmental, simple eye exercises or change in habits may do the trick.  Prolonged use of the computer may be the reason, and this can be countered by refocusing on a distant object for several minutes.  This exercise must be done every hour to alleviate the stress in the eye.

25% of the population suffers from a condition called Visual Stress. This is most effectively treated by not only having a properly prescribed pair of glasses but also having the lenses tinted.  The colour of the tint is very specific to the individual.  This needs to be prescribed using an instrument called a Colorimeter.

As can be seen Eye Strain is not simple.  See us at The Eye Practice by booking an appointment with us above.

About the Author

Dr Jim Kokkinakis (Optometrist) graduated in 1983 from the Optometry School University of NSW. He is currently a Senior Lecturer there and regular speaker to both Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in Australia and Internationally. He has a specialist clinical practice in the Sydney CBD with interests in Eye Strain, Computer Vision problems, Treatment of Eye Diseases and complex Contact lens Fittings.

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