Eyes can become tired, sore or dry. You can suffer from watery eyes, 'floaters', twitching eyes and headaches. Prevent eye strain while using computers or watching television (TV) by taking frequent breaks, blinking frequently and looking at different objects at varying distances. If eye problems persist, see an optometrist for advice.
Your eyes can become tired, blurred, sore or dry. Sometimes you might even see spots or get headaches. These complaints are very common and can often fix themselves. If they persist, it is best to see an optometrist for advice.
Concentrated tasks can cause tired eyes and blurred vision
If you spend a long time using a computer or watching television, your eyes can become tired and your vision blurred.
Using a computer does not cause permanent damage to your eyes. However working on a computer is a demanding visual task that can cause eye discomfort. If you have an uncorrected vision problem, this can make computer use uncomfortable and can lead to blurred vision and eye strain.
Whenever you concentrate on a computer screen or watch television, you tend to blink less which can lead to your eyes drying out. This is made worse if you are in a dry environment, such as a heated or air conditioned office.
Prevention of eye strain
You can help prevent dry eyes and minimise the risk of tired or sore eyes while reading or using a computer. Tips include:
- Take regular breaks
- Look around at objects that are at different distances
- Try to blink often.
Blurry eyes at night
There are a number of reasons why your eyes may go blurry at night. For example:
- You are tired and your visual system is fatigued.
- You have a refractive error such as long sightedness or astigmatism. During the day you may be able to compensate for these, but when your eyes are tired your vision can go blurry.
- You could be mildly short-sighted. This may not bother you in normal light but you notice it at lower light levels.
- The tears on the front of your eyes may be drying out if you have been around heaters and air conditioners all day. This may cause your eyes to go a little blurry, but should clear when you blink.
Blepharospasm is an involuntary twitching of the muscles in your eyelid that is usually caused by stress or fatigue. This is a common condition that tends to recur every so often, usually in the same eye and the same area of the eyelid. The twitching may feel obvious to you; however if you get someone else to look, they usually won’t notice any movement.
A good night’s sleep is the easiest way to correct the problem. If it continues, see your optometrist.
Headaches are generally a sign that something is wrong; however, there are many possible causes of headaches. Some of these are visually related such as uncorrected refractive error or focusing problems.
Valuable information can be gained from the nature of the headaches. For instance:
- When do the headaches arrive?
- How bad they are?
- Where they are? For example, in the forehead area or around the sides of the head.
- What triggers seem to start them?
Floaters are specks that you sometimes see before your eyes. They are very common and are created when a tiny clump or strand forms within the clear jelly substance inside your eye (the vitreous). When you move your eyes to look at the floater, it moves because it is sitting within this vitreous.
Most people have some floaters and they are usually irritating but quite harmless. They may stay indefinitely or spontaneously disappear.
There is no treatment for floaters. However, if you suddenly notice a lot of floaters or flashing lights, you should have an eye examination to ensure that the internal surfaces of your eye are correctly positioned and healthy.
Watery eyes can be due to:
- A low-grade infection of the eyelids, causing irritation on waking and subsequent tear production.
- Dry eyes, caused by many factors such as medications, general health conditions, environmental factors such as air conditioning or wind or rarely, incomplete closure of the eyelids. Dryness stimulates tear production.
- A problem with the drainage of tears out of the eye (sometimes caused by a blockage).
- A mild allergic reaction.
- Foreign material in the eye.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Your local optometrist
- Optometrists Association Victoria Tel. (03) 9652 9100
Things to remember
- Common eye complaints include sore and tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches, twitching eyelids, watery or dry eyes.
- Most of these conditions can remedy themselves.
- If you have any problems that seem to be recurring or getting worse, see an optometrist.
You might also be interested in:
- Computer-related injuries.
- Computer games - health issues.
- Eye care - optometrists.
- Eye floaters.
- Eye injuries - flash burns.
- Eye injuries - foreign body in the eye.
- Eyes - blocked tear duct.
- Eyes - glaucoma.
- Eyes - long-sightedness.
- Headache - some causes.
Want to know more?
Go to More information for support groups, related links and references.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
(Logo links to further information)
Healthy eyes, seeing clearly
Fact sheet currently being reviewed.
Last reviewed: April 2011
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your qualified health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residence and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.
For the latest updates and more information, visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Copyight © 1999/2013 State of Victoria. Reproduced from the Better Health Channel (www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au) at no cost with permission of the Victorian Minister for Health. Unauthorised reproduction and other uses comprised in the copyright are prohibited without permission.