June 8, 2022

Visual fatigue: causes and treatments

Who is affected by eye strain?

In France, nearly 20 million people suffer from visual fatigue. It is also a relatively frequent reason for ophthalmological consultation, since 60% of French people present clinical signs induced by this phenomenon. These rather impressive figures can be explained in part by the fact that close-up vision is increasingly solicited on a daily basis. The reason? The time spent in front of screens, which is constantly increasing, and which constitutes a source of proven visual fatigue.

How does eye strain manifest itself?

Visual fatigue can manifest itself in various ways:

  • excessive tearing
  • burning sensation in the eye
  • irritation, itching, tingling
  • light hypersensitivity
  • headaches
  • dizziness...

These symptoms tend to be more pronounced in the evening, after a day's work.

What factors cause eye strain?

In order to ensure close-up vision, the eyes must constantly focus, much like a camera. To achieve this, they use the ciliary muscles, whose main task is to bend the lens. Even though these adjustments only require micro-movements, these muscles are extremely busy during a day spent, for example, in front of a computer screen. This is because human eye structures are not designed to fix an object at the same distance for several hours.

How to limit visual fatigue?

It is above all necessary to consult an ophthalmologist, the only practitioner who is able to carry out an in-depth assessment and detect any underlying visual disorder. If this is the case, appropriate treatment (fitting an appropriate correction, orthoptic sessions, etc.) is often enough to eliminate visual fatigue. In the absence of proven disorders, it is recommended to act on the work environment by ensuring, in particular, that you are positioned at the right height in front of a computer screen. Beware of glare, reflections on the screens, poorly positioned lights, etc. You should also vary your reading angles and take short breaks to avoid having to focus on the same thing all the time.

What are the treatments and corrections for visual fatigue?

Ophthalmologists usually prescribe artificial tears to patients suffering from recurrent eyestrain. These help to lubricate the surface of the eye and reduce the troublesome symptoms. Glasses against harmful rays (against blue light from screens and against UV rays outdoors) will help protect your eyes. Finally, better lifestyle habits (adapted position in relation to the screen, regular breaks when working on a screen, reduction of luminosity, etc.) will help you feel less tired.