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Tired eyes – a very real condition

26/08/2017

“My eyes feel tired”. This may sound familiar, but is it a real condition, or just a symptom of feeling tired after a busy day?

In fact, it is very real and even has a name. The medical term for eyestrain is asthenopia.

Symptoms of tired eyes

There are many symptoms associated with tired eyes, they include:

What causes eyestrain?

There are a number of factors that can cause eyes to feel strained, such as lack of sleep, crying, exposure to very bright light or prolonged periods of intense focussing from driving, reading or working at the computer.

Research has shown that many of the devices we now use almost constantly have a negative impact. Frequent use of smart phones, tablets, laptops, surfing the internet, text messaging and reading emails all place extra strain on our eyes. Other contributors are exposure to tobacco smoke, pollution, dust in the atmosphere or dryness from air conditioning.

Some prescription drugs can cause eyes to feel tired and, if this is the case, it’s important to seek more information from a doctor to discover if an alternative can be found.

Beyond the affects of everyday modern living, there is a condition called Sjorgren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that is associated with rheumatoid arthritis that can also result in very similar symptoms.

Chronic dry eye

This is often the result of eyes that cannot produce sufficient tears and is another condition that can make eyes feel tired and strained. Often, artificial tears can help alleviate this problem, but an ophthalmologist or doctor should be consulted to determine what treatment is required.

Is it time for a new prescription?

Finally, there are vision problems that may be alleviated by something as simple as glasses. If glasses are already worn, it might be time for a new prescription.

Treatment

If a patient believes that their lifestyle is the cause of eyestrain and tiredness, the first step is to change a few habits – spend less time on the computer, reading fine print or text messages. Or, try to get more sleep. Sometimes just a short break can allow the eyes to recover and alleviate the symptoms.

If this doesn’t help, a trip to the optometrist for an eye examination could do the trick.

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