Fall is the perfect time to snuggle up with a good book. Whether it’s a new-bestseller, an anthology of short stories or a volume of poetry, a book is the perfect companion. It may be cozy to think of reading for hours as the days grow shorter and the weather turns cooler, but you need to be cautious about straining your eyes.
Eyestrain is not harmful to the eyes and often goes away once your eyes are rested. However, sometimes eye strain can be a sign of an undiagnosed eye condition. These are the most common symptoms of eyestrain:
- Blurred or double vision
- Watery eyes
- Dry eyes
- Soreness, tiredness, burning or itching
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty focusing
You should make an appointment with your eye doctor if you have persistent double vision, experience pain or have a noticeable change in your vision.
How can you prevent putting excess strain on your eyes as you feast on a good book? Here are a few tips to help:
- When reading, have a light source behind you so that light is being directed onto the page. If you are reading at a desk, use a lamp with a shade. The shade will prevent the light from shining into your eyes.
- If you have reduced vision, use a brighter light source.
- Consider a large-print book if words appear too small on the page.
- Take regular breaks. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away from your book and look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Walk around for a while and give your eyes a rest.
- Blink often to moisten your eyes. Dry eye can result when staring at an object for too long.
- Use artificial tears to add moisture to the eyes.