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Headaches Resulting from Usage of Electronic Devices

computer screen reflecting off of a pair of glasses

Medically Reviewed By:

Mary K. Polinard, BSN, RN, CNOR

In today’s modern digital world, so many people spend the bulk of their days staring at a screen for work, play, and social activity.

This increase is screen time has led to many more people suffering from digital headaches, a type of headache associated with the eyes burning and tired eyes.

Here are some exercises to do while sitting at a desk for eye strain treatment and to safely experience screen time on a daily basis.

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Blink More Often

One of the simplest (and best) things you can do for your eyes while looking at a screen is to blink more often. Blinking helps lubricate the eyes and prevent eyes from drying out. Make a conscious effort to blink about 10 times every 20 minutes to prevent eye irritation and dryness while looking at a screen.4

The 20-20-20 Rule

A good rule to remember when it comes to eye strain relief is the 20-20-20 rule. This entails looking away from your computer screen at an object about 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes while you are looking at a screen. This practice helps the eye muscles to relax and reduces the sensations of eyes burning and tired eyes.4

Cups Eyes with the Palms

Another exercise to try involves applying light pressure to closed eyes with the palms of the hands. This offers a light massage to the eye muscles, but make sure to keep the pressure very light and hold for a couple minutes.3

Rolling the Eyes

While working on a screen, take occasional breaks to roll the eyes in circles and look up, down, and side to side. Sometimes a figure-eight pattern of movement can be helpful. By moving the eyes in all directions periodically, eyes produce the moisture they need and the risk of digital headaches decreases.3

Shift the Eyes’ Focus

Sometimes a change in perspective is all one needs to feel better throughout the day. Hold an arm out straight with the fingers in a fist and the thumb pointed up. Slowly move the thumb towards the nose until the eyes’ focus becomes blurred. Then stretch the arm back to its starting position and repeat this motion 10 times.3

Other Strategies for Eye Strain Treatment

It is also recommended to get an eye exam once per year to ensure the health of the eyes. Using adequate lighting in rooms with computers and smartphones is also a good idea to prevent eye strain. It may be necessary to upgrade the screen display to a LCD screen, adjust the screen brightness or contrast, and take more frequent breaks from screen time. Wearing appropriate eyewear, awareness of air quality, and use of artificial tears are also beneficial.2,4

VANQUISH® DIGITAL HEADACHE™ pain reliever provides effective headache relief. Adults and children age 12 and older may take two of these caplets every six hours, not to exceed eight caplets in 24 hours, to complete the on-screen activities they need to without pain or discomfort.

Vanquish® is indicated for tension headaches. If you have a cluster headache, sinus headache, migraine headache or any other type of headache you may want to consult a doctor.

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References for Headaches Resulting from Usage of Electronic Devices

1. Altabakhi, I. W., & Zito, P. M. (2018, December 2). Acetaminophen/Aspirin/Caffeine. Retrieved on August 22, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513274/.
2. American Migraine Foundation. Do I Need To Have My Eyes Checked If My Head Hurts? Retrieved on August 19, 2019 from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/do-i-need-to-have-my-eyes-checked-if-my-head-hurts/.
3. Healthline. Eye Exercises: How-to, Efficacy, Eye Health, and More. Retrieved on August 24, 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/eye-exercises.
4. Mayo Clinic. Eye Strain. Retrieved on August 24, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eyestrain/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372403.

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