In our last blog we asked ourselves ‘What Is Eye Strain?’ and covered why and how it occurs; now we are going to look at the results of eye strain. Eye strain usually presents itself in a very uniform way, which is both a blessing and a curse, insofar as the earlier signs and symptoms of this particular repetitive strain injury can be easily confused with being connected to other route causes.
The first symptom that will normally present itself when your eyes become strained is ocular irritability. Basically your eyes will feel sore, their veins will become more prominent and they will likely become noticeably reddened. This is quite an obvious symptom, which is to say that it is hard to miss or ignore, but because so many people lead hectic, fast-paced lives where their average time spent sleeping is around 5-6 hours a night, these symptoms are often attributed to a simple lack of rest.
As we have stated in numerous posts relating to RSIs, if caught and addressed early the symptoms will go as quickly as they came, but because eye strain is so rarely addressed at this stage it is often allowed to develop further. At this point eyes will often feel dry, despite the fact that they will also water frequently, this is an unmistakable sign that your eyes are in distress and that very real damage is being inflicted upon them.
As your eyes become more and more damaged some of the wear inflicted will become permanent and may result in the need for glasses – if you do not wear any – or a new, stronger prescription if you do. Of course it is a fact of life that your eyes do naturally wear over time, but straining your eyes will result in more rapid deterioration, prompting the need of glasses, contacts or other corrective measures.
This is another danger of ocular fatigue, as once a corrective measure becomes necessary your eyes will be unable to focus correctly, your vision will start to blur and the discomfort caused by the soreness of your eyes can become quite excruciating. All of this comes as a result of the ciliary muscles placing an enormous strain on themselves in a vain attempt to focus your eyes, which without glasses or contact lenses they will never be able to do.
Eye strain can snowball quite rapidly, as once the ciliary muscles become fatigued their ability to control the size of the pupil becomes diminished. This allows more light into the eye which as well as causing damage to the retina in the long-term, will immediately result in photosensitivity, headaches and possibly even migraines.
Like all repetitive strain injuries, eye strain can be very unpleasant once it develops, but considering how easy it is to address and work around this really ought not to be the case. Check out our next blog to see how to prevent eye strain and also how to alleviate it. For more general information on RSIs, their symptoms, causes and how to treat them, take a look at our Ultimate Guide To Repetitive Strain Injuries.