Avoid eyestrain: Shedding light on the subject

Nov 4, 2021 | Marie Suszynski, Writer | @mariemayohecs | Comments (3)



Any type of work or activity that depends on intensive use of your eyes — such as driving, reading, doing crafts, or staring at a computer, smartphone or tablet — may cause eyestrain. This doesn’t lead to permanent eye damage, but it can affect everyday vision.

Common signs and symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Eye fatigue
  • Dry, itchy, watery or burning eyes
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck or back pain
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Squinting

When doing intensive, close-up work, make sure that you have light that’s well directed on what you’re doing. And don’t be shy about increasing the electrical power, if needed. Although a standard-watt light bulb may be sufficient for a person with normal vision, a bulb with much higher wattage may be necessary if you have impaired vision. Whenever you change a bulb, make sure the light fixture can handle the wattage of the new bulb.

  • When reading — Try to position the light source behind you and direct the light onto the page. The light should be bright but not glaring. If you’re reading at a desk, use a shaded light positioned in front of you. The shade will keep light from shining into your eyes.
  • When watching television — Keep the room softly illuminated while watching TV. Too much contrast between a screen and its dark surroundings can result in eyestrain.
  • When on devices — If you spend most of your day staring at a computer monitor, laptop, tablet or smartphone you’re probably experiencing some eyestrain. For example, you may see color fringes or afterimages as you glance away from the screen. Researchers don’t believe this activity will have long-term consequences, but the symptoms can be unpleasant and disruptive.


Looking to discuss eye concerns or eye conditions? Head over to the Eye Conditions group.


Get clear answers on protecting your sight with the Mayo Clinic Guide to Better Vision.


Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Aging & Health: Take Charge blog.

This article seems to be incomplete and ends abruptly. Is there a link to somewhere where we could read the rest?


Hi @annettediana. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. The last word of the last sentence was cut off, but I fixed it. This is an excerpt from the book, Mayo Clinic Guide to Better Vision.


This article seems to be incomplete and ends abruptly. Is there a link to somewhere where we could read the rest?

Jump to this post

Thank you useful information

Please sign in or register to post a reply.