Tired eyes are one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from their patients. In this era of computers and mobile devices, the average person in the United States spends about 10 hours, 39 minutes daily in screen time.1
Asthenopia is the technical name for tired eyes. It describes a number of symptoms resulting in eye strain and/or fatigue, red eyes, blurred vision, pain in or around the eyes, mild or severe headaches, and rare double vision which generally begins after many hours of close work on the computer or other close work. Some of these problems arise because computer/smartphone users’ blink rate slows2 causing the eyes to be dry and resulting in eye tiredness. 3
Other symptoms of asthenopia include light sensitivity, glare sensitivity, headaches, red eyes, sore eyes, and blurry vision. These symptoms, measured on subjective questionnaires, are usually mild, but worsen if the issues are not addressed.
Our eyes are designed through evolution to look outward to the distance. Extensive near work can cause, over time, significant stress on the visual system resulting in eye fatigue, dry eyes, difficulty sleeping, increases in eye pressure possibly resulting in glaucoma, and computer eye strain symptoms.
Asthenopia has given rise to many occupational safety research studies. Since 2000, epidemiological studies have revealed many important factors that aggravate eye fatigue. Some of the studies included up to 6,000 people with tired eyes.
Improvements of ergonomics, poor lighting, and uncorrected vision help only 50% of patients, suggesting that other causes remain unnoticed, improvements are poorly implemented, or the patient is performing even more close work, which is more challenging. It is unlikely that simply addressing the above causes lessens the frequency of tired eyes.
Aside from spending less time on the computer, tablet, smartphone, etc., there has been little progress toward relief other than setting up work stations properly, and getting glasses (or updated glasses) to help lower eyestrain.
However, research in 2017 finds that the viewing distance – how far your eyes are from your electronic device – makes a difference, not only in the amount of eye fatigue, but in how well you sleep at night.4
- Limit your screen time when possible. A 2018 study reports that people who are on computers more than four hours a day have higher odds of poor sleep and difficulty falling asleep.5
- Maintain viewing distance. Aim for a minimum of 12″ for smartphones. Viewing distance starts out at a moderate length, and then tends to get closer and closer as our eyes get tired.6
- Sit up. Users who view smartphones sitting up tend to have a longer (better) viewing distance than those who lie down while viewing. And the shorter viewing distances are associated with poor sleep quality.7
- Breaks. Take regular breaks on the computer and mobile devices to do some eye exercises. Get our free eye exercise booklet. This book gives Dr. Grossman’s 11 favorite eye exercises and the acupressure points to massage around the eyes over the course of the day.
- Children. Make sure your kids are not holding their electronic devices too close. Younger users tend to hold mobile devices closer to their eyes than older users do.
- Exercise. Get plenty of exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, daily. This can even include a quick walk for 20 minutes, and/or sign up for a yoga or Qigong class.
- Diet. Eat a healthy diet high in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits.
- Supplement. Taking the macular support carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, mesozeaxanthin)8 helps reduce the symptoms of eye fatigue, and indirectly, improves sleep quality. Astaxanthin also helps to reduce eye fatigue.9
We recommend these targeted supplements for your eyes, particularly those that are wild-crafted and/or organic.
1. Advanced Eye and Vision Support is our whole, food, organic, GMO-free formula for overall eye health.
2. Vision Boost wild-crafted Formula helps naturally boost energy during the day and “raises energy” to the eyes to help reduce eye fatigue.
3. ReVision wild-crafted formula is based on the classic Chinese medicine formula to energize the Liver meridian which “Opens to the Eyes” and help promote healthy circulation and flow of energy throughout the eyes and body.
4. Homeopathic eye drops help relieve dryness naturally.
As always, please don’t hesitate to call us at 845.475.4158 or email us at email@example.com if you have questions or need more information.
- Howard J. (2016). Americans at more than 10 hours a day on screens. CNN, Cable News Network, 29 July 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/06/30/health/americans-screen-time-nielsen/index.html ↩
- Golebiowski B, Long J, Harrison K, Lee A, Chidi-Egboka N, et al. (2020). Smartphone Use and Effects on Tear Film, Blinking and Binocular Vision. Curr Eye Res. Apr;45(4):428-434. ↩
- Choi JH, Li Y, Kim SH, Jin R, Kim YH, et al. (2018) The influences of smartphone use on the status of the tear film and ocular surface. PLoS One. Oct 31;13(10):e0206541 ↩
- Yoshimura M, Kitazawa M, Maeda Y, Mimura M, Tsubota K, et al. (2017). Smartphone viewing distance and sleep: an experimental study utilizing motion capture technology. Nat Sci Sleep. Mar 8;9:59-65. ↩
- Lewis O, Odeyemi Y, Joseph V, Mehari A, Gillium R. (2017). Screen Hours and Sleep Symptoms: The US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Fam Community Health. Jul/Sep;40(3):231-235. ↩
- Long J, Cheung R, et al. (2017). Viewing distance and eyestrain symptoms with prolonged viewing of smartphones, Clin Exp Opt. March, 2017. ↩
- Yoshimura M, Kitazawa M, et al. (2017) Smartphone viewing distance and sleep: an experimental study utilizing motion capture technology. Nat Sci Sleep. March. ↩
- Stringham JM, Stringham NT, O’Brien KJ. (2017). Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure. Foods. Jun 29;6(7):47. ↩
- Giannaccare G, Pellegrini M, Senni C, Bernabei F, Scorcia V, et al. (2020). Clinical Applications of Astaxanthin in the Treatment of Ocular Diseases: Emerging Insights. Mar Drugs. May 1;18(5):239. ↩