Dry eye is a condition where the eyes are unable to produce enough tears or tears evaporate too quickly, which can lead to discomfort and potential damage to the eye surface. Tears play a vital role in eye health by moisturizing and lubricating them. When tears are not able to clean and moisturize the eyes, inflammation, and other eye problems can occur. One sign of dry eyes is decreased blinking. Prolonged screen time is a major cause of dry eyes, and studies have found that working on computers for extended periods can alter the balance of tears and lead to a lower amount of mucus in tears. Research has also shown that a significant proportion of computer workers suffer from dry eye symptoms.
Here are some symptoms of dry eyes:
A scratchy or gritty sensation in the eyes: This is a common symptom of dry eyes and can feel like there is sand or grit in the eyes. It can be quite uncomfortable and may cause you to rub your eyes frequently.
Redness in the eyes: Dry eyes can cause the blood vessels in the eyes to become more prominent and visible, resulting in redness.
Sensitivity to light: Dry eyes can make your eyes more sensitive to bright light, which can cause discomfort or even pain.
Blurred vision or eye fatigue: When your eyes are dry, your vision can become blurry or your eyes may feel tired or fatigued. This can be particularly noticeable when you're reading or using a computer for long periods.
Stringy mucus in or around the eyes: Dry eyes can cause excess mucus to build up in the eyes, resulting in stringy or sticky discharge.
5 ways to care for your eyes and prevent eye strain:
Take breaks from screen time: Looking at a screen for long periods can cause eye strain. Take frequent pauses and look away from the screen every 20 minutes to avoid this. The 20-20-20 rule states that you should take a break every 20 minutes and gaze at anything 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Your screen's brightness, contrast, and font size can all be adjusted to lessen eye strain. Also, consider using a blue light filter or screen protector to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by your device.
Blink regularly: Blinking helps to moisturize your eyes and prevent them from drying out. Make a conscious effort to blink more frequently when using a screen or reading for long periods.
Practice good posture: Maintain a comfortable and ergonomic posture when using a screen. Ensure that your screen is at the right distance and height to reduce strain on your eyes and neck.
Get regular eye exams: Regular eye exams can help detect and correct any vision problems that may contribute to eye strain. An eye doctor can also recommend appropriate eyewear or treatments for any underlying conditions.