Postpartum and Breastfeeding

What is Eye Fatigue and What to do About it?

Hillary Bennetts

What is Eye Fatigue and What to do About it?

Have your eyes ever felt tired, watery, or sensitive? If so, you’re not alone. You’re probably experiencing eye fatigue. So what does it mean, and what can you do about it? Let’s take a look (pun intended)!

What is Eye Fatigue?

Eye fatigue is a common condition caused by heavy use of your eyes. Also called strain or asthenopia, eye fatigue can happen by reading, using digital devices, or driving long distances. 

Eye fatigue can be uncomfortable, but it’s not usually serious, and it can typically be managed with some simple modifications. Of course, if these small changes don’t help your symptoms, it's time to dig deeper into what might be causing your eye fatigue. Let’s learn more.

Is Eye Fatigue Common?

In today’s digital world, eye fatigue is very common. Many of us work on screens during the day and then unwind in the evening by reading news or scrolling social media on a screen, or watching TV on another screen. Some of us even stare at a screen during our workouts! 

Symptoms of Eye Fatigue

Eye fatigue affects your eyes, but it can also impact other parts of your body. Symptoms of eye strain that affect your eyes include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Burning eyes
  • Itching eyes
  • A feeling that there is something in your eyes
  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open

Symptoms of eye strain that affect other parts of your body include:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain or stiff neck
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Difficulty concentrating 

Causes of Eye Fatigue

There are several reasons you might experience eye fatigue. While long periods of reading and driving can contribute, most causes link back to extensive use of digital devices. Digital devices can cause eye fatigue for the following reasons:

  • Less blinking: We tend to blink less when we use computers or other digital screens. This leads to dry eyes which can contribute to eye strain. 
  • Glare: The glare from digital devices can cause us to squint and lead to eye strain.
  • Contrast: Poor contrast between the words on the screen and the background can make the eyes work harder, leading to tired eyes and eye strain.
  • Positioning: Sitting at an improper distance from a screen, such as on a couch or in bed, can be difficult for the eyes and lead to strain.

Risk Factors of Eye Fatigue

Risk factors for eye strain tend to be related to its causes and can include the following:

  • Working in front of a computer or screen for long periods of time
  • Heavy phone or tablet usage
  • Doing tasks that require your eyes to focus for extended periods of time
  • Having dry eyes or living in a dry or windy climate
  • Driving long distances, especially if there’s wind or air blowing directly at your eyes 

Preventing Eye Strain

There are several lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent eye strain. 

Computer Screen

  • Place your screen 20-26 inches away from your eyes and a little below eye level
  • Regularly clean dust and fingerprints from the surface. Smudges can reduce contrast and create problems like glare and reflections
  • Choose screens that tilt and swivel to find a position that works well for you
  • Use a glare filter for your screen

Work Environment

  • Change lighting to get rid of glare and harsh reflections.
  • Use an adjustable chair.
  • Place a document holder next to your computer screen.
  • Make sure the lighting in the room you’re in is bright enough. You don’t want your device to be brighter than the surroundings.
  • Try blue light blocking glasses when working on a digital screen.

Work Habits

  • Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Set a timer if needed.
  • Take a longer break of about 15 minutes after every 2 hours you spend on your devices. Try building this into your calendar, and use it to do something to support your health, like drinking water, stepping outside for some fresh air, or going for a short walk.

Eye Health and Hygiene

  • Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to tired, dry eyes (keep your eyes closed).
  • Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
  • To help prevent dry eyes while indoors, use an air cleaner to filter dust and a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
  • If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.
  • Get regular eye exams. You might need to use a different pair of glasses when you’re working on a computer.


  • Omega-3s: Research has found that omega-3s can support tear production and have been found to lower the risk of dry eye by 17%. 
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin: These are carotenoids produced by plants that help maintain sharp vision. The carotenoids (in the macula and retina) also help filter blue light to prevent damage.

Needed Prenatal Omega-3 contains Omega-3s, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin, and can help support your eye health. As well as our new Cognitive Support a unique breastfeeding safe blend of  9 targeted nootropic and botanical ingredients that support focus and attention, brain health and memory, and alleviates brain fog and eye fatigue. 

The Bottom Line

Eye fatigue can be frustrating and unpleasant, but some small lifestyle shifts can make all the difference.

Like the article? Share it!

Hillary Bennetts, Nutritionist

Hillary Bennetts is a nutritionist and business consultant focusing on prenatal and postpartum health. In addition to nutrition consulting, she provides business consulting and content creation for companies in the health and wellness industry. Hillary spent almost a decade in corporate consulting before shifting gears to combine her lifelong passion for health and wellness with her business background and nutrition education.