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Tips for relieving eye strain for parents and kids

Whilst not a condition as such, eyestrain occurs from prolonged or intense periods of activity involving eye focus.

What is eyestrain?

Whilst not a condition as such, eyestrain occurs from prolonged or intense periods of activity involving eye focus. Eye strain is generally not serious in nature and will usually resolve itself once the eyes are given a chance to rest. However, if you are persistently experiencing eye strain or are concerned about your eyes and vision in any way it is best to seek medical advice from your optometrist.

What causes eyestrain?

Eyestrain can occur for many different reasons and is usually a result your eyes being overused without a break or a decrease in blinking and may result from: 

  • Attempting to see in dim light
  • Being exposed to glare or bright light
  • Driving long distances without regular breaks
  • Dry air
  • Incorrect prescription for glasses or contact lenses
  • Looking at a screen such as a computer, tablet, tv or phone
  • Reading
  • Stress or fatigue
  • Underlying eye condition

What are the symptoms of eyestrain?

Symptoms of eye strain or eye fatigue include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Burning or itchy eyes
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Eye twitches or eye muscle spasms
  • Having issues getting your eyes to focus
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Mid headaches
  • Red or irritated eye
  • Tires and heavy eyelids, or difficulty keeping your eyes open

How to relieve eyestrain?

The best and easiest way to relieve eyestrain is to make sure that you are giving your eyes a break. This could be as simple as just looking away from your screen or device for 20 seconds and focusing on something else in the distance. Ideally you want to ensure that you are blinking adequately to keep your eyes well lubricated.

Other ways to relieve eyestrain include:

  • Use artificial tears or saline drops to keep eyes lubricated.
  • When working at a computer ensure that your desk is ergonomically set up, that your screen is at least 25cms away from your eyes and that your screen is at or just below eye level.
  • Ensure adequate rest and time away from screens. Use your breaks wisely and avoid prolonged screen time.
  • Use blue light blocking glasses at night to help promote a restful sleep. Blue light does not cause eyestrain however fatigue can.
  • Adjust device settings including night modes and brightness.
  • Minimise reflections or glare.

For children prolonged time using devices such as tablets, watching tv or computer games would be the primary cause of eyestrain. Have age-appropriate discussions with your child to ensure that they understand the need to take breaks and encourage play that does not revolve around a device. Many devices these days have screen time locks or settings that can be utilised to help teach your children around limits with devices.


This information does not take into account your personal situation and is general in nature. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for your needs and seek professional medical advice.

Always consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplements or if any concerns arise.