Is your head throbbing at the end of the day? Do you feel pressure around your temples or a sharp pain in your forehead? It could be from the stress of your job, or it could be from worsening vision.
When it comes to headaches, eye strain is often the culprit. Two causes of eye strain are focusing problems and computer vision syndrome.
Nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism can cause you to squint and strain your eyes to help with focusing. Constant contraction of the eye muscles can cause eye pain and headaches. Improper alignment of the eyes can also cause focusing problems and related headaches.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Also known as digital eye strain, computer vision syndrome is a result of spending too many hours in front of a computer or another digital screen. Digital screens emit blue light that penetrates deep into the retina and can cause eye fatigue, headaches and even insomnia. Most Americans do not have healthy boundaries when it comes to the time we spend on our smartphones, computers, tablets and televisions. It is not uncommon for us to spend an entire workday in front of our computers and occupy our evenings with even more screen time for entertainment.
If you are having frequent headaches, it’s time to make an appointment with your eye care professional to evaluate your prescription. A comprehensive eye exam can diagnose refractive errors and focusing problems so you can concentrate on your work and increase your productivity without the annoyance of headaches (source: American Migraine Foundation).
Throughout your workday, it is important to take regular breaks to allow your eyes to rest. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at an object at least 20 feet away. It also helps if you blink more often when you are working in front of your computer since staring at the screen can decrease your blink rate and cause dry eye, eye irritation and headaches.
Take a moment right now to write “20-20-20” and “blink” on a post-it note and attach it to your computer screen. Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to eye strain and headaches.