What Does It Mean When Your Eyes Hurt After Working At A Computer?

The COVID-19 pandemic truly made significant changes worldwide. According to McKinsey, millions of people lost their jobs during this time, which increased the financial burden on individuals and their families. As a result of this, many people across the globe still struggle to make ends meet. One of the main changes, aside from staggering unemployment rates, were the changes made by companies that retained their employees. These companies adjusted guidelines to allow people to work from home, and this soon became the norm. Now, people continue to juggle their personal and professional lives from their homes.

Working from home has its perks, but it also has its own set of challenges. Intuit Mint Life reported that people saved thousands of dollars while working from home, as spending budgets decreased greatly. On the other side of this change are the setbacks accompanying a work-from-home position. This type of role increases the chances of overwork and burnout due to a lack of work and home life boundaries. After all, distractions at home can affect your productivity. 

According to the Nielsen Company Audience Report, the average American was spending approximately 10 hours a day staring at screens in 2018, and the numbers are only going up now. All those hours you spend in front of the computer can have detrimental effects on your health, such as negatively affecting your posture and your eye sight. If your eyes hurt after working at a computer all day, it could mean one of several things.

Working too much on your computer can cause digital eye strain

Spending time in front of a computer, or glued to a smartphone, is common in people's personal and professional lives nowadays. The amount of time we spend staring at the computer does affect our eyes, even if we don't notice the changes right away. According to Healthline, too much screen time can make dry eye symptoms worse, because we tend to blink less when we're concentrating on work. 

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics reported that a person can blink up to 66% less when staring at any screen, but it's particularly noticeable when you're completing your work on a computer. Blinking is how our eyes produce hydrating tears for eye health, and less hydration may be the real reason you get dry eyes or red eyes. Both of these conditions can lead to blurry vision and eye pain.

The brightness of your screen can also hurt your eyes. According to ophthalmologist Dr. Matthew Gardiner, "Bright light sources can feel uncomfortable, especially if you have cataracts," because the glare from the electronic screen puts a strain on your eyes (via Harvard Health Publishing). If you struggle to see something on your screen, this is a sign that you're overworked, or you have impaired vision. Additional issues, such as blurry vision and headaches can also occur. This is typically called computer vision syndrome, aka digital eye strain (per Harvard Health Publishing). 

You can reduce digital eye strain by taking breaks, purchasing computer glasses, and readjusting your screen settings, such as the lighting on your monitor (per Vision Source).