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If you're like many Americans, you probably do a lot of close work, such as sitting at a computer or working at a desk. Tasks that involve focusing up close with intense concentration over long periods can strain the eyes, cause vision problems, or aggravate existing visual conditions.

Why does this happen?

Your eyes have focusing muscles which work to change the power of the lenses in your eyes. Your eye muscles work hardest when you focus on things close to you. Since this isn't the muscles' natural position, they spasm and fatigue after a time. When this happens, you may notice that your distance vision is blurry. This is because the muscles have failed to relax and are still focusing close, even though you are looking far away. Although the symptom is blurry distance vision, the problem is too much close work.

What are some other symptoms?

  • Worsening distance vision as the day progresses
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Itchy, burning eyes
  • Eye fatigue and sore eyes

What can you do?

  • Have a complete eye exam to see if you have any uncorrected vision problem.
  • Take frequent breaks. Look away from what you are doing. Focus on something across the room and then go back to your close work task. Try to do this every 15-30 minutes.
  • Try to blink your eyes more often.
  • Have proper lighting on the task you are doing.
  • Eliminate glare on your computer screen and make sure the screen is positioned properly.
  • Try to keep things at a slightly greater distance from your eyes to keep your eyes as relaxed as possible.