published Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Ask a doctor: Why are my eyes hurting and tired after working on my computer?

Dr. Deborah DiStefano

Q. Why are my eyes hurting and tired after working on my computer?

A. This complaint is becoming more common. While computer screens can cause eyestrain, there is no convincing evidence they can harm the eyes. Symptoms of eyestrain are eye irritation (red, watery or dry eyes), eye fatigue (tired, aching heaviness of the eyelids or forehead), difficulty in focusing and headaches. However, eyestrain does not result in permanent eye damage. It is important to wear appropriate eyeglasses adjusted for the distance between the eyes and the computer screen. Most computer users prefer to position the screen farther from where they normally read. Prescription eyeglasses should be adjusted accordingly. Take periodic rest breaks. Using a computer requires unchanging body, head and eye positions that can be fatiguing. Lubricate the eyes by blinking frequently or using artificial tears (lubricating eyedrops). Keep workstations clean to minimize eye irritation from dust. Also minimize light glare by adjusting office lights or using hoods or filters on the video screen. Standard office lighting is too bright for comfortable computer screen viewing.

— Dr. Deborah DiStefano, DiStefano Eye Center; Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society member

Readers: To submit a question for medical doctors, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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