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Eye Strain

Could My Back, Neck and Eye Pain Be Related?

Does it sometimes feel like your neck, back and eyes have just spent an hour heavy lifting at the gym, when all you’ve done is sit at a computer or been out for a drive? These seemingly unrelated aches and pains may indeed be related.

Let’s try to understand this by digging a little deeper.

Activities That May Cause Eye Strain and Discomfort

Eye strain can occur for a number of reasons, but it’s usually a result of your eyes being overworked. Eye strain is especially common in people who spend an extended period of time on near-work activities such as reading, writing, looking at a computer, scrolling through phone messages or playing video games.

Eye strain from these activities can directly contribute to neck and back pain. That’s because people with tired eyes try to reduce their eye strain by tilting their head or neck, which results in poor posture. Leaning into a digital screen or craning your neck over a book may help you see better, but it’s a major cause of back, and neck soreness.

Vision and Eye Conditions

Vision and eye conditions that may contribute to back and neck pain include:

Binocular vision dysfunction (BVD)BVD is a common visual condition where even a slight misalignment of the eyes causes them to send two very different images to the brain, which then struggles to combine them into a single cohesive 3D image. BVD can cause eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and light sensitivity.People with BVD may compensate by tilting their heads in one direction or the other. While this can sometimes help them see a bit more clearly, their unusual head or neck position can cause muscle tension and soreness in the back, neck and shoulders.

Hyperopia and Presbyopia

Hyperopia (farsightedness) causes a person to see objects more clearly in the distance while nearby objects seem blurry. Presbyopia is age-related farsightedness that typically begins in a person’s 40’s. As we age, the lens of our eyes become stiffer and less flexible. This loss of flexibility makes it difficult to see close-up.Without vision correction like glasses or contact lenses, people with hyperopia or presbyopia strain their eyes to improve focus. This often results in headaches and tension in the neck.

If you’ve ever seen a farsighted person hold a book or phone at arm’s length to see the text, you’ll understand how extending one’s arms can place additional strain on arm muscles and lead to bad posture and back pain.

Neck and back muscle tension

Conversely, muscle tension in your neck and back can result in eye pain or the buildup of pain around the eyes.

Unconscious tensing of the muscles in the neck, upper back and shoulders can lead to muscle tension in the back of the skull. This, in turn, can cause headaches near or adjacent to the eye area.

For more information on how eye problems are connected to neck and back soreness, and how you may be able to prevent all three, contact in today!

At Lakeline Vision Source, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 512-918-3937 or book an appointment online to see one of our Cedar Park eye doctors.

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Q&As

What can I do to prevent eye strain while working or playing on digital screens?

To prevent eye strain and associated neck, shoulder and back stiffness while working on computers or other devices, follow the “20-20-20” rule. Every 20 minutes look away from the screen at something at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to rest from the near-work you’ve been doing. At the same time, consciously relax your back, neck and shoulder muscles.

If this doesn’t provide the relief you’re seeking, ask your eye doctor about computer glasses that help block glare and blue light.

What can I do to reduce eye strain from presbyopia and hyperopia?

Both of these conditions can be addressed using eyeglasses or contact lenses. These may sometimes only be required when focusing up close, such as while reading or using a computer.

When it comes to presbyopia, bifocals or multifocal glasses and contact lenses can all be excellent options. You may also speak to your eye doctor about the possibility of LASIK or other types of corrective surgery.

3 Benefits of Anti-Glare Coating

Glare refers to the excessive brightness caused by direct or reflected light. It can cause eye strain, digital eye strain (when using a computer, for example), halos, and headaches. Glare can also reduce visibility, making it unsafe to drive.

Anti-glare coating, also known as anti-reflective (AR) coating, is a thin layer applied to the surface of your eyeglass lenses that allows more light to pass through your lenses. By reducing the amount of glare that reflects off of your lenses, you can see more clearly and experience more comfortable vision. You can request anti-glare coating for lenses when you buy eyeglasses.

AR Coating Offers 3 Major Advantages

Better Appearance

Without an anti-glare coating on your glasses, camera flashes and bright lights can reflect off your lenses. This can hinder your appearance when speaking to people or in meetings, cause flash reflections when picture-taking, and make it difficult to find the right angle for video calls. Anti-reflective coating eliminates the harsh reflections and allows others to clearly see your eyes and face.

Reduced Digital Eye Strain

You know that tired, irritated feeling you get after staring at a digital screen for several hours? That’s digital eye strain. Anti-glare coating helps reduce digital eye strain by lowering exposure to excessive glare from digital devices and lighting.

Safe Driving at Night

The bright headlights from cars driving in the opposite direction can pose a serious danger when driving at night. These sudden glares can lead you to momentarily lose focus of the view ahead. AR coating on your prescription eyewear effectively reduces reflections from headlights at night, allowing you to enjoy a better view of the road and safer driving at night.

Let your eyes look and feel better every day with anti-glare coated lenses. Contact us to book your appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Eric Hammond OD

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Cedar Park, Texas. Visit Lakeline Vision Source for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Tips to Relax Your Eyes

Do your eyes hurt after spending a significant amount of time reading, playing video games, driving, or staring at a screen? These visually intense activities can sometimes be hard on the eyes, causing uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and blurry vision. Other symptoms of eye strain can include light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, trouble concentrating, and burning or itchy eyes.

Fortunately, preventing painful computer vision syndrome and eye fatigue symptoms can be as simple as trying a few of these eye exercises. To learn more about digital eye strain and discover the best relief options for you, call Lakeline Vision Source at 512-918-3937 and schedule an eye exam with our optometric team.

Relax Your Eyes with These Supportive Techniques

Many of these exercises are designed for computer users. Eye strain resulting from long drives, reading, or other activities, can be alleviated by modifying some of these recommendations.

The Clock Exercise

The clock exercise relieves strain on overworked eye muscles and can help you avoid headaches and eye pain, among other symptoms. Begin the exercise by imagining a large analog clock a few feet in front of you. Keep your head still and move your eyes to the imaginary 9, then to the imaginary 3.

Keep moving your eyes to the opposite pairs on the clock — 10/4, 11/5, 12/6, and so on. Hold your gaze for a second or two on each number before moving on to the next one. Continue doing this for 4-5 minutes.

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule helps you avoid dry eyes and eye strain by giving your eyes frequent breaks. After about 20 minutes of screen time or doing close-up work, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives the eyes a much needed rest and helps them relax. There are also free apps available that provide pop-up reminders that notify you when it’s time to shift your gaze.

Screen Ergonomics

The American Optometric Association recommends placing computer monitors 20 to 28 inches, or 50-70 cm, away from your eyes and the top of the computer should be at eye level or right below for optimum eye comfort. Glare filters can reduce the amount of glare produced by digital devices and improve your viewing experience.

Poor sitting posture can also contribute to eye strain. Your chair should be situated so that your feet are flat on the floor, or use an angled footrest for additional comfort.

Optimize your Eyewear

Since regular prescription lenses or glasses may not adequately meet your visual needs for lengthy computer use, you may benefit from wearing computer glasses. These prescription glasses are customized to your needs and also reduce glare and block blue light.

 

You don’t have to live with the discomforts of eye strain. If symptoms persist, it may be time to visit Lakeline Vision Source and get the relief you seek. Call our office to schedule a convenient eye doctor’s appointment.

 

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