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How Long Does Eye Strain Last?

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A woman took off her glasses and massaged her temples to relieve feel eye strain fatigued from a laptop computer.

How often do you rub your tired eyes after a long day of staring at a computer screen? If you find your eyes feel tired, you’re not alone.

Eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is becoming more common in today’s digital age. But how long does this unpleasant condition last?

The duration of eye strain differs from person to person and is influenced by a number of factors. The good news is that most people’s eye strain is only temporary and can be prevented with various methods, such as resting your eyes. 

What Is Eye Strain?

We tend to blink less often when looking at digital screens, which can cause our eyes to become dry and fatigued.

The light screens emit may also disrupt our natural sleep-wake cycle and induce eye strain. Eye strain symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Neck & shoulder pain

If you have any of these symptoms, try to reduce your screen time. Remember that our eyes were not designed to stare at screens for extended periods of time, so it’s important to treat them to the rest and attention they need to feel their best

How Long Can Eye Strain Lasts?

So, how long does eye strain last? It depends. The duration of eye strain varies from person to person and can be affected by a variety of factors.

Existing Vision Issues

If you already have an eye condition, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, you may be more prone to eye strain.

Frequency & Duration of Screentime

The frequency and duration of screen time are 2 factors that may influence the duration of eye strain. The more you use digital devices, the more likely it is that you may experience eye strain.

If you spend 8 hours a day looking at a screen, you may experience eye strain for an extended period. However, if you only use digital devices for a few hours per day, your eye strain may be less severe.


Because bright lights or glare can aggravate eye strain, you can try to adjust the lighting in your workplace by either dimming or turning off some overhead lighting that you don’t need. You can also position your monitor to avoid glare from outside sources like windows.

Screen Brightness

Screen brightness and color temperature can influence the duration of eye strain, so make sure your screen is properly calibrated to maximize your comfort.


Poor posture while using digital devices can cause eye strain, so make sure you sit up straight and keep good posture when using screens.


Stress can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health, including our eyes. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with our vision.

Additionally, stress can lead to muscle tension and headaches, which can contribute to neck and shoulder pain, a common symptom of eye strain. This can make it more difficult to maintain good posture while using digital devices, further increasing the strain on our eyes.

An adult woman with eyeglasses experiencing eye strain due to a long period of using her phone.

How to Reduce Eye Strain

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce eye strain symptoms and keep your eyes healthy.

Give Your Eyes a Break

Taking short breaks from screens regularly can help reduce eye strain. You can look away from your screen and focus on distant objects during these breaks, or simply close your eyes and rest.

Adjust Your Screen

To reduce eye strain, make sure your screen is positioned at the proper distance and angle. Your screen’s top should be at or slightly below eye level, and it should be about an arm’s length away from you.

20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule explains that you should take a break from your screen every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps to reduce eye strain and prevent your eyes from getting fatigued.

Blue Light Glasses

Blue light emitted by digital screens can cause eye strain and disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. Blue light-blocking glasses can help reduce the amount of blue light your eyes are exposed to and reduce eye strain.

Artificial Tears

If your eyes are feeling dry, artificial tears can help to hydrate them and reduce eye strain.

Get Help with Eye Strain

Eye strain is a constant battle for many of us in this fast-paced digital age. The good news is that a few simple steps can make a significant difference in reducing the symptoms of eye strain and keeping our eyes healthy. 

So let’s not let the screens rule our lives. By taking regular screen breaks, using the 20-20-20 rule, and adding in some eye-friendly habits, we can protect our eyes and keep them functioning at their best. 

If you have any questions about how to help reduce your eye strain, or you’d like an eye health assessment, book an appointment with Restore Vision Center.

Written by Tracy Eickhoff

Dr. Tracy Eickhoff grew up in Friendswood, Texas and graduated from Friendswood High School. She went on to attend Texas A&M University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Science in 2004. From there she attended the University of Houston College Of Optometry where she received her Doctor of Optometry Degree in 2008. She is a member of The American Optometric Association, The Texas Optometric Association, and The Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society, The Ocular Nutrition Society, and has served as Adjunct Clinical Faculty at The University of Houston College of Optometry.

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