Who doesn’t own a smartphone today? Being a student – books, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are your best friends. You probably use digital screens for about everything – to work, relax, and keep up with your routine life. You may feel your eyes tired or irritated after concentrating on tasks like reading a book, staring at a digital screen, or driving for an extended period. This is known as eye strain. It is a widespread condition growing more common in the digital age.

In this blog, you’ll learn what eye strain is, how it’s caused, its symptoms, and tips for avoiding it as a student. So, hold on and keep reading!

What exactly is eye strain?

Eye strain is a common problem that develops when your eyes become tired due to prolonged use, such as continuous reading or staring at a computer screen. It can be pretty irritating when you’ve got a deadline or exam.

Digital eye strain is a condition that develops after using digital devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. It is usually insignificant and goes away as you rest your eyes or take other measures to ease your eye discomfort.

In most cases, eye strain can be treated by simple, noninvasive treatments. Constant eye strain or discomfort could be signs of a more severe problem, so discussing it with your doctor is always a good idea.

How is it caused?

Any of the following can cause it:

  • Reading without taking a break to rest your eyes
  • Being exposed to glare or intense light
  • Viewing the screens of digital devices
  • Squinting in the extreme darkness
  • Feeling stressed or worn out
  • Posing incorrectly while using a digital device
  • Observing a screen without properly regulated lighting
  • Having visual issues or eye conditions like dry eyes

Eye strain symptoms

Eye strain symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Pain or strain in the neck, shoulders, or back
  • Tired, burning, or itching eyes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open
  • Increased light sensitivity

How do digital screens or reading cause eye strain?

Now that you know that digital screens or consistent reading are the leading causes of eye strain, you may wonder how they cause it. The science behind it is pretty simple.

An average person may blink anywhere from 15-20 times per minute. This helps the eyes to evenly distribute tears over the eyes and help prevent irritation and dryness. However, according to a study, people blink fewer than half as frequently, whether reading a book, watching, or playing on a screen.

Additionally, the glare, flashing, and contrast of writing against the background of digital screens or reading in dim light can strain your eyes.

5 Tips to avoid eye strain as a student

Here are the simple and most effective tips to avoid eye strain as a student:

1. Take short breaks whenever working

Almost everyone likes breaks. Right?

Take regular breaks from reading or doing intensive work to rest your eyes by looking away from the page, computer screen, or project. According to studies, short breaks benefit not only your eyes but also your body and mind.

Taking short breaks is a systematic method to prevent eye strain when spending a long time in front of a computer. For instance, if you worked on a computer all morning, take a walk outside during your lunch break.

2. Follow the 20-20-20 rule

Eye strain often occurs when you focus on one activity for a long time with no break. You can ease eye strain by performing a simple eye exercise.

Not only should you look away every twenty minutes, but you should also stop doing something intensively for several hours each day. You must focus on something 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.

This keeps your eyes from getting tired and helps to relax the focusing muscle inside the eye. Additionally, try shifting your closed eyes back and forth to strengthen your eye muscles.

3. Adjust the lighting

You can easily avoid eye strain by adjusting the digital screen settings. Adjust the brightness to match the brightness of your surroundings because too much light can strain your eyes.

You can follow the following tips depending on the activities you’re engaged in:

  • Ensure that the screens you’re using are well-lit.
  • Adjust the contrast to make reading less straining (black text on a white background is ideal), and change the colour temperature to make the monitor’s display less blue for a more comfortable viewing experience.
  • If you’re reading or doing something else requiring deep concentration, the light should come from behind you.
  • Keep the room softly lit while watching TV.
  • If you’re studying at a desk, use a soft light in front of you so your eyes won’t be directly exposed to light.

4. Limit your screen-time

Your screen time can be a leading cause of eye strain. Whether you’re taking online lectures, watching your favourite TV show, or using Netflix, set a limit for yourself. Take a short break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours you spend on your screen.

5. Use eye drops or artificial tears

Your ophthalmologist may recommend the best eye drops for you. Artificial tears that are readily available can treat and prevent dry eyes. You can use them to keep your eyes well-lubricated and prevent reoccurring symptoms even when your eyes feel fine.

Eye strain treatment

Generally, treatment entails changing your lifestyle, daily routines, or environment. For some students, wearing glasses designed for a particular activity—like computer use or reading—helps minimise eyestrain. Others could require care for an underlying eye problem.

Your eye doctor may advise you to take regular breaks to help your eyes focus at varied distances. To relieve eye strain, however, you may need to make adjustments like those already mentioned.

The best tip?

Time management is vital for students to avoid eye strain. Student life is a golden age for all teenagers and young adults. Wasting it suffering from eye problems doesn’t sound cool. Does it?

So, learn to manage your time and balance your studies, extracurricular activities, entertainment, and fun. And now that you know the eye strain symptoms and causes, if you feel eye strain follow the tips mentioned above and live your student life to the fullest!