The word stress designates a state of permanent tension . It is generally understood that it is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that express alertness and anxiety. However, it can also be used to refer to a type of localized tension, such as visual stress.

Basically it is a set of variable ophthalmological manifestations . It can be red eyes, inflammation, or even headaches. Any sign of this type indicates to what extent vision and visual acuity have been affected, therefore patients often face serious difficulties in performing certain tasks that involve the use of sight.

What is visual stress?

Visual stress is defined as a type of tension that originates from an excessive demand for the use of the visual organ and associated systems. This occurs over very long periods of time, and can even be permanent due to multiple factors. Some ergonomic guidelines from an environment not very favorable for visual health are also taken into account.

This is a concept that has become more popular today because most jobs depend on the use of computers. In this way the eyes have to face continuous stress , consequently visual acuity is significantly affected. The discomfort begins to arise when the patient himself becomes aware of the visual impairment, especially at short distances.

This is a health problem that can affect in different ways, depending on how it is generated and the circumstances in which the patient is. For some it may be double vision and for others totally blurred vision. On the other hand, others describe it as fatigue accompanied by symptoms such as redness, discharge of tears and itching. Finally, in some patients it is a constant headache associated with decreased visual acuity .

It could be said that it is a problem that has increased considerably in a large part of the working population . This means that the sector ranging from young adults to those in retirement are equally prone. This is because current jobs depend entirely on the use of computers, tablets and mobile equipment; to be able to carry out their tasks.

It is associated with asthenopia which is an ophthalmological condition characterized by double vision. It usually occurs when you are constantly in front of a screen, but it can also be due to excessive reading, which involves eye strain.

What are your symptoms?

The development of symptoms is something that occurs in a particular way in each patient. It depends largely on the conditions to which the eyes have been subjected , as well as the patient’s own tolerance to these circumstances. Regarding ocular morphology, it is also another factor to consider and some unhealthy visual habits. The set of all these elements is what contributes to the patient being prone to this condition.

The most common symptoms are the typical headaches that are specifically located on the forehead and in spaces near the eyes. The pain can be described as something that starts in this area, radiating towards the back of the head. Some patients may face severe pain in the eyeball and even on the eyelids.

Eye discomfort such as the sensation of having a foreign body , stinging and itching. It is generally accompanied by tearing, which implies that the body itself is trying to improve the physical conditions of the eye organ. In other cases, however, a dryness occurs that increases discomfort. In the most severe cases, swelling can occur that eventually increases.

Perhaps the mildest and most initial symptom is redness of the eyes . It is usually treated by using artificial tears, however it only allows you to have a momentary rest. In the most severe cases, the patient may feel discomfort in the nasal bridge and the eye sockets, generally it is a generalized congestion that is felt all over the face.

It also highlights another symptom which is an involuntary tremor that directly affects the Müllerian muscle . It is the one that allows the eyelid to rise, it is an important muscle that is also controlled by the nervous system. It is usually activated during stressful situations where a considerable amount of adrenaline is released. These movements are generally called tics, until now there is no specific ophthalmological treatment, but rest and massages are usually recommended.

What are your causes?

Generally it arises from the realization of a continuous and intense effort. It can also be a consequence of the accumulation of stress AND continually facing unhealthy environmental conditions for the eyes. It is more common in patients who have the habit of reading or looking at a screen for long periods of time.

It basically means straining your eyes for activities that require concentration on detail. Tension increases when changes in focus are made frequently , so the view will focus on observing near and far objects.

Performing activities that involve greater visual concentration are those that generally cause dry eye. This means that the eyes must remain open for more than 18 or 13 blinks per minute. Ensuring adequate lubrication of the eye ensures that there is less feeling of discomfort and fatigue.

Another important cause is the use of inadequate lighting in the work environment. When designing this space, it should be taken into account that it should not exceed and not be scarce, finding the middle point between both ends avoids the eye having to make an extra accommodative effort.

It is also important to mention exposure to ultraviolet or high frequency light. This is the most damaging to sight because it causes irreparable damage to the retina in the long term, they are due to the fact that it contributes to the cells being eliminated from the macula.

Tips and / or habits to reduce vision

Experts usually mention a series of ergonomic guidelines , they are designed to guarantee less direct impact on the eyes. It has been proven that their implementation can reduce the symptoms of this condition.

For example, the chair that is used in the work space must be adjustable, in this way it is modified to the height and inclination . The backrest must be straight to guarantee the comfort of the back, as for the inclination it must be 25 degrees with respect to the horizontal surface of the desk.

Another primary measure relates to the distance of the patient from the computer screen. It is preferable that it does not exceed 40 centimeters , in this way the lighting will have a less direct impact. It is best to achieve natural lighting as much as possible. In case of having to use artificial lighting, it should not be too intense or too close.

Likewise, implementing the use of breaks will provide short and long-term benefits. Any measure that guarantees to reduce eye fatigue, be it a rest of one minute or up to half an hour, it is most advisable that the patient be constant in this practice.

The average workday lasts approximately eight hours a day, which involves looking directly at a monitor or a mobile screen. This means that the gaze will remain fixed on a single point, which contributes to the feeling of fatigue and severe headaches. Combining this time with another where the eyes are used to look at open spaces and in natural lighting conditions is essential.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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