What are the causes and remedies for eye strain or fatigue?

Symptom Database

Eye strain and fatigue are common problems that many people experience, especially in today’s digital age. With the increasing use of computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices, our eyes are constantly exposed to screens, leading to various symptoms such as eye discomfort, tired eyes, and reduced eye health. In this article, we will explore the causes of eye strain and fatigue and provide remedies to prevent and reduce these issues.

Causes of Eye Strain and Fatigue

1. Digital Eye Strain: Spending long hours in front of digital screens, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones, can cause digital eye strain. The high-intensity blue light emitted by these devices can lead to eye fatigue and discomfort.

2. Computer Vision Syndrome: Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is a condition that results from prolonged computer use. It includes symptoms like eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.

3. Poor Lighting: Insufficient or excessive lighting can strain your eyes. Working in dimly lit environments or under harsh fluorescent lights can contribute to eye fatigue.

4. Incorrect Viewing Distance: Sitting too close or too far from the screen can strain your eyes. The ideal viewing distance is about 20-28 inches away from the screen.

5. Incorrect Screen Settings: Brightness, contrast, and font size settings on your devices can affect your eye comfort. Adjusting these settings to suit your preferences can help reduce eye strain.

Remedies for Eye Strain and Fatigue

1. Take Regular Breaks

One of the most effective ways to prevent eye strain is to take regular breaks from screen time. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise helps relax your eye muscles and reduce fatigue.

2. Adjust Your Workspace

Creating an ergonomic workspace can significantly reduce eye strain. Ensure that your computer screen is at eye level and positioned slightly below eye level to minimize strain. Use an adjustable chair and desk to maintain a comfortable posture.

3. Optimize Lighting

Proper lighting is crucial for eye health. Position your computer screen to avoid glare from windows or overhead lights. Use curtains or blinds to control natural light. Consider using a desk lamp with adjustable brightness to provide adequate lighting.

When staring at screens, people tend to blink less frequently, leading to dry eyes and eye strain. Make a conscious effort to blink more often to keep your eyes lubricated and reduce discomfort.

5. Use the 20-20-20 Exercise

In addition to taking regular breaks, practicing eye exercises can help alleviate eye strain. The 20-20-20 exercise involves focusing on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This exercise relaxes your eye muscles and reduces fatigue.

6. Adjust Screen Settings

Optimize your screen settings to reduce eye strain. Adjust the brightness and contrast levels to a comfortable level. Increase the font size if necessary to avoid squinting and straining your eyes.

7. Use Artificial Tears

If you experience dry eyes or discomfort, consider using artificial tears or lubricating eye drops. These can help keep your eyes moist and relieve symptoms of eye strain.

8. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Leading a healthy lifestyle can contribute to better eye health. Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly those beneficial for eye health, such as vitamin A, C, and E. Stay hydrated and get enough sleep to ensure your eyes are well-rested.

9. Get Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are essential for maintaining good eye health. An optometrist can detect any underlying issues and provide appropriate solutions to prevent or reduce eye strain and fatigue.

10. Consider Blue Light Filters

Blue light filters or screen protectors can help reduce the amount of blue light emitted by electronic devices. These filters can be applied to computer screens, smartphones, and tablets, reducing the strain on your eyes.


Eye strain and fatigue are common problems in today’s digital world, but they can be prevented and reduced with the right measures. By taking regular breaks, optimizing your workspace, adjusting screen settings, and practicing eye exercises, you can alleviate eye strain and maintain good eye health. Remember to prioritize your eye care and seek professional advice if needed. With these remedies, you can enjoy your screen time without compromising your eye comfort.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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