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Why Eye Strain Causes Headaches



As your local eye professionals in University Place, Tacoma, and Lakewood we are committed to keeping your eyes happy and healthy. Because of a significant uptick in screen use, we are seeing many more patients with headaches due to eye strain, which is generally caused by overuse of your vision. Let’s learn a little more.


What is Eye Strain?

Eye strain can present in a variety of ways including sore eyes, dry eyes, light sensitivity, blurred or double vision, or trouble concentrating. Eye strain is usually not serious, but a better understanding of its causes and prevention are the keys to keeping your eyes healthy.


What Causes it?

Eye strain occurs when your eyes have focused for too long on a screen or object, or in lighting that is too bright or too dim. It’s essentially an overuse of your eyes that causes them to fatigue.


By looking at objects or screens at a close range, the muscles in and around your eyes work harder to focus. Over time, these muscles can get sore and tired.


Eye strain can also be caused by squinting for long periods. This can trigger spasms in your facial muscles and the muscles around your eyes, which can lead to eye strain headaches. If you’re struggling to see and wear prescription lenses, have your prescription checked. Your visual acuity might need to be assessed.


It’s important to clarify that eye strain doesn’t indicate that you have damaged your eyes, just that you have worked them a little too hard.


How can I Prevent It?

Much of what causes eye strain and headaches can be resolved by giving your eyes a break.


We recommend the following:

  • Adjust the glare on your screen to a more comfortable level. By reducing the glare or brightness, your eyes won’t have to work as hard to focus.

  • Take a break from screens. If you look at a screen for more than 2 hours a day, you are at the greatest risk for eye strain. Try the 20-20-20 approach.

  • Better your posture. Better posture will reduce the strain on your back, shoulders, and neck, which should help reduce headaches.

If you are squinting because you cannot see objects well, contact us right away for a comprehensive eye exam. Squinting to see objects is an indication that you need corrective lenses.


Headaches caused by eye strain aren’t usually a serious problem, but if you find yourself bothered by it more than usual, contact us to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. We can help pinpoint the issue and help you find a solution.

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