Is Hitting the Books Hurting Your Eyes?

Coming home after a long day of work to a cup of coffee and your favorite book is a great way to relax. But the relaxation goes out the door when the eye strain begins. Eye strain is commonly caused by reading for long hours continuously. Focusing on your book tires the eyes, straining your eye muscles and often causing a headache. Your eyes can feel blurry, watery, dry, or burning. At some point, you might also find it hard to concentrate, forcing you to put down your book and let your eyes rest.


So, how does this genuinely affect your eyes? Before we talk about how to prevent eye strain, let’s talk about a common myth.  You might have heard at some point in your life that reading too much or reading in the dark can weaken your eyes and cause permanent damage. Well, here is the truth! Your eyes don’t get damaged by reading in any way. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t change your reading habits to reduce discomfort. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about eye strain from reading.


How to Prevent Eye Strain When Reading Books


  • When reading, make sure the lighting in the room is sufficient for your eyes, so you don’t have to focus too much. You can place a highly illuminated lamp near your comfortable reading spot to help.
  • Use brighter lights and adjust them with your eyes’ comfort level if you have reduced vision.
  • The 20-20-20 rule will save your day! Every 20 minutes, exercise your eyes by looking around the room and focusing your eyes on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds straight.
  • Sometimes digital reading causes more significant eye strain. If you are an e-book reader, it is best to invest in anti-glare glasses to prevent blue-ray exposure.
  • Buy yourself artificial tears or whatever product is recommended by your doctor to keep your eyes hydrated.
  • Reading tiny letters for long periods can cause your eyes to dry out. Blink more to keep your eyes moistened.
  • Keep your book or device at your eye level. Adjust the brightness level on your device to keep the lighting soft for your eyes.
  • If you have weak vision, never read without your glasses for more than 20 minutes.
  • When you experience severe pain in the eyes, put down the book and massage your eyes gently with three fingers in a circular motion. This will help the blood flow around your eyes and relax your eye muscles.
  • Get yourself books with more significant texts. If you are a digital reader, you can quickly increase the font size from your device settings.


You should also schedule a routine eye exam every year to ensure your eyes are in top shape. Additionally, if you are experiencing more eye strain than average, schedule an appointment to discuss options with your doctor.


Contact Your Local Opthalamologist to Schedule Your Eye Appointment


Do you have eye pain after extended periods of reading? Contact a trusted Palmdale eye doctor to schedule an appointment.

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