Just as there are ergonomic methods that apply to the wrists or your back, there are also ergonomic principles associated with your eyes. Think about it. When you read, whether you read fast or slow, your eyes are constantly in motion.
They’re fixating and jumping countless times a second. They’re trying to stretch their peripheral vision to take in as many words as possible in a single glance. They’re skipping over unimportant words. They’re moving up and down each page, zigzagging backwards and forwards and starting all over again with each page turn. All of this and more is happening thanks to those six muscles I talked about earlier that are attached to your eyes.
With so much movement going on, your eye muscles are bound to get tired and maybe even trigger a headache. Besides constant movement, other things happening in your life can trigger tired eyes including stress, fluorescent lighting, being tired in general, poor posture, a stuffy work space, alcohol misuse, and reading when you’re already tired.
All of these situations can lead to eye fatigue. But eye fatigue doesn’t stop there. It can lead to eye strain, which is actually a form of repetitive stress injury. If left untreated, this type of injury can be debilitating.
How do you know when your eyes are tired? Sometimes you just feel it like when your eyelids and your forehead start feeling heavy.
But other times, you might experience symptoms and not realize they’re symptoms of eye fatigue. Other signs that your eyes may be tired or strained include dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, eye twitches or spasms, car sickness, blurred or double vision, watery or itchy eyes, eyes that burn even when they’re closed and dry eyes. Tired or sore eyes are also symptomatic of eye strain as are problems with reading and an inability to concentrate.
If any of these symptoms appear after a visually intensive task, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and seek treatment. Luckily, treating eye fatigue is easy. Most of the time, all you have to do is give your eyes a much needed break. Whether you’re reading or driving or looking at the computer monitor or something else, simply stop and allow your eyes a chance to rest and recover.
When you take time to relieve eye fatigue, good things happen. First, you’ll notice that your productivity increases so you’ll accomplish more in less time and with less effort. And second, you’ll probably notice that you feel better overall.
Because most of us have so much to do and so little time to get it all done, it’s probably not possible to totally eliminate eye fatigue from our lives. There will be times when we’ll keep on going even though we know we should be stopping. To the extent you can, try to keep these instances to a minimum.
And try taking steps to help reduce the likelihood of eye strain becoming a problem in the first place. Next I’ll share with you some easy steps you can implement starting right now.
Since glare is one of the biggest contributors to eye fatigue, let’s tackle this issue first.
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