Eyes - common problems
This article discusses the most common eye problems and their causes.

Eyes - common problems

Your eyes can become tired, blurred, sore or dry. Sometimes, you might even see spots or get headaches. These complaints are very common and can often fix themselves. If they persist, it is best to see an optometrist for advice.

Problems with focusing (refractive errors) are also very common. The image of what you are looking at does not focus precisely on the back of the eye (retina) and appears blurry. The main types of refractive errors are myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia or hypermetropia (long-sightedness), presbyopia (inability to focus on near objects) and astigmatism.


Tired eyes and blurred vision

If you spend a long time using a computer or watching television, your eyes can become tired and your vision blurred.

Using a computer does not cause permanent damage to your eyes. However, working on a computer is a demanding visual task that can cause eye discomfort. If you have an uncorrected vision problem, this can make computer use uncomfortable and can lead to blurred vision and eye strain.

Whenever you concentrate on a computer screen or watch television, you tend to blink less. This can lead to your eyes drying out. It is made worse if you are in a dry environment, such as a heated or air-conditioned office.


Prevention of eye strain

You can help prevent dry eyes and minimise the risk of tired or sore eyes while reading or using a computer. Tips include:

  • Take regular breaks.
  • Look around at objects that are at different distances.
  • Remember to blink often.

If this doesn’t help, see an optometrist to find the underlying cause of the problem. Treatment may include eye drops, exercises or glasses.

Blurry eyes at night

Reasons why your eyes may go blurry at night can include:

  • You are tired so your visual system is fatigued.
  • You have a refractive error such as long-sightedness or astigmatism. During the day, you may be able to compensate for these, but when your eyes are tired, your vision can go blurry.
  • You could be mildly short-sighted. This may not bother you in normal light, but you notice it at lower light levels.
  • The tears on the front of your eyes may be drying out if you have been around heaters and air conditioners all day. This may cause your eyes to go a little blurry, but should clear when you blink.

If your vision has started going blurry, you should have your eyes examined to find the cause.


Twitching eyes

Blepharospasm is an involuntary twitching of the muscles in your eyelid that is usually caused by stress or fatigue. This is a common condition that tends to recur every so often, usually in the same eye and the same area of the eyelid. The twitching may feel obvious to you, but if you get someone else to look, they usually won’t notice any movement.

A good night’s sleep is the easiest way to correct this problem. If it continues, see your optometrist.

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