Eye strain vertigo can be caused by straining your eyes too much. Can eyestrain cause dizziness? Yes, it can. In fact, eye strain dizziness is a real thing. It is not the same as vertigo, but it can make you feel like that is what you’re suffering from.

Visit any amusement park across the country, and you will see people standing in line, waiting for their turn to ride the latest and greatest roller coaster or spinning attraction. You may see the smiling faces race past you in a blur and hear the screams of delight from the thrill seekers on the rides. But for some, an amusement park would be the last place you would ever want to be. Your daily life may feel like you have just gotten off a ride because you could be suffering from constant or intermittent vertigo. To understand eye strain vertigo, let us first explain vertigo.

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is the feeling one gets from riding a spinning ride or roller coaster. Although, it can come on without being provoked by a fast ride. An individual will feel as if he or she is moving, even when the person is stationary. Some who suffer from vertigo describe it as feeling like a spinning or swaying movement. As a result, a sufferer of vertigo can experience nausea, vomiting, sweating or a difficult time walking.

Related: Eye Strain Exercises

Like many Americans experiencing strange medical symptoms, the last person you would ask for advice is an actual medical doctor.  Instead, we all turn to WebMD, type in our symptoms, and then watch, in horror, as all the frightening diagnoses appear on your computer screen. The same will happen if you search for diseases associated with vertigo. WebMD may suggest that you are having a stroke or suffering from a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis. It may be suggested that you have BPPV, or a benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, Meniere’s disease or labyrinthitis. If those diseases don’t sound scary enough, your vertigo may also be from exposures to toxic substances such as carbon monoxide or aspirin.

What is eye strain vertigo? What are eye strain symptoms?

Something you may not see, because you have already thrown your phone across the room in horror before you get to it, is a lesser common issue called eye strain vertigo. Yes, straining your eyes can cause dizziness. Other eye strain symptoms: dizzy or aching head, a sore neck, shoulders or back, and blurred or double vision. Irritated eyes are another symptom of eyestrain. Your eyes may be sore, tired, burning, or itching. They could be watery, or they could be dry. Someone affected by eyestrain could also have an increased sensitivity to light. Eyestrain can affect you in other ways as well. You may find that you have a difficult time concentrating or have a feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open.

Can eye strain cause dizziness?

As we can see, do not be quick to jump to conclusions that you have a dreaded disease when you experience vertigo eye strain. Eye strain dizziness is a lot better diagnosis than one involving a brain tumor. How does this work? How does eye strain cause dizziness? Well, anything involving the eyes is complicated, and there are several things that could be the root cause. One involves a medical diagnosis, while the other involves technology.

Related: How to Prevent Eye Strain

If you have headaches, blurry vision, and problems driving and reading, you could have binocular vision dysfunction. This results in an unnecessary strain in the muscles of your eyes. For as often as we use our eyes, it’s not surprising that the strain causes headaches and other issues.

Vertical Heterophoriaeye strain dizziness

One particular type of binocular vision dysfunction is vertical heterophoria. This is the result of the misalignment of the eyes in a vertical plane. This specific disorder causes migraines and dizziness. Not surprisingly, if your eyes are not straight across from each other, you may also have a difficult time with reading comprehension.

Vertical heterophoria can also be caused by abnormalities in the nerves or muscles of the eyes. This can be caused by a neurological disorder, a brain injury, or a stroke.

Others with vertical heterophoria can be born with the condition. Individuals with this may not even receive a diagnosis until much later in life. Amazingly, the body is able to self-correct as best as it can when faced with these situations. An individual’s eyes and mind may try to counteract the imbalance and the dizziness caused by it.

Why does vertical heterophoria cause dizziness?

When two eyes focus on an object, the brain puts together both images into a single picture. Someone with this type of eyestrain vertigo may have one eye angled high while the other is angled low. This results in the images not being centered in the back of the eye. This causes lightheadedness or dizziness.

Interestingly enough, this condition is often misdiagnosed as agoraphobia or clinical anxiety. Vertical heterophoria has a genetic component.

Related: Eye Strain Causes

Some studies show that wearing a particular type of glasses may improve the lives of those suffering from vertical heterophoria. If you feel that this vision condition may cause your dizziness, contact your optometrist to discuss your concerns with him or her.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Another reason you may be experiencing dizziness or symptoms associated with eyestrain vertigo could be that you are feeling the effects of computer vision syndrome. Unlike vertical heterophoria, CVS is very prevalent. Some studies indicate that almost 90% of those who look at a screen for three hours a day or more are affected by the experience.

Other symptoms of this type of eyestrain can include headaches, blurred vision, pain in the neck and shoulders, fatigue, irritated eyes, vertigo, and difficulty refocusing the eyes.

The good news is that eyestrain caused by CVS is preventable and treatable.

eye strain vertigo prevention

Treatment of CVS

One of the best ways to treat CVS is to take a break periodically from staring at a screen. I need to remind my teenage daughter to do this often. Experts have come up with a clever label to help us remember to give our eyes a break. It’s called the 20/20/20 rule. (Get it? Like 20/20 vision?) It works like this. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

If you want to take a break, but don’t want to make it seem like you are staring at your attractive coworker who just so happens to sit 20 feet away from your screen, consider closing your eyes for two minutes every half hour. Relax your face, shoulders, and neck for these two minutes. Do not fall asleep. That would be embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as someone thinking you are staring at them for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

Related: Eye Strain Symptoms

Another tip to alleviate eyestrain is to blink more often. When we focus on a screen for long periods of time, it is only natural that we begin to blink less. If you suffer from eyestrain enough to experience eyestrain vertigo, consider making a sign to attach to your computer screen reminding yourself to blink. If you are worried that your coworkers will make fun of you for a sign that says blink, consider attaching some other visual reminder that would lie within the periphery of your computer screen.

Another way to keep your eyes from suffering from eyestrain is to focus on the lighting around your computer screen. Try not to use a computer in a dark room. Have another light source near your screen. This light should not necessarily be bright overhead lighting. See if you can find some natural light or light from a softer source, such as a lamp with a shade, that will give the area a glow but will not cause more strain on the eyes. Make sure that light source does not cause a glare on the screen itself.

Another word about your computer’s screen: make sure it is smudge-free and keep the brightness turned up high. If you are suffering from dizziness as a result of computer vision syndrome, this is not the time to worry about your computer’s battery life. Do everything you can to keep your eyes from working too hard.

The blue light that emanates from your computer screen can also cause CVS. This blue light is necessary because it allows us to adjust the brightness of our displays. For some reason that is too technical for me to understand, this blue wavelength is harder on our eyes than other hues. The light between 380 and 470 mn can even affect our body’s natural sleep patterns. In older adults, it can also cause cataracts.

Since we aren’t willing to quit staring at screens, one way we can combat the strain caused by the blue hues is to wear glasses to protect our eyes. One such product, available on Amazon, is the SightPros Computer Glasses.

eye strain vertigo

The SightPros glasses help reduce eyestrain by blocking the blue light emanating from computer and phone screens. It does this by having you look through amber-colored glasses, which isn’t as nice as looking through rose-colored glasses, but oh well.

There are other computer glasses available on Amazon, but there are a few benefits of using this particular product. This is one of the only computer glasses that also comes in different magnification strengths. Not only do the glasses protect you from the blue waves, but they also act as readers as well.

Related: Best Eye Strain Glasses

Sightpros also uses some of their profits to fund mission trips to impoverished areas. During the mission trips, eye care professionals give vision care to those who could not otherwise afford it.

Other Tips to Reduce Eyestrain Vertigo

Use Night Settings

Another thing to keep in mind is that some computers have night settings available. These settings reduce the amount of blue light that comes from the computer at night. Even though this may not help if your eyestrain vertigo occurs during the day, it could help you keep regular sleep patterns.

Don’t Sit Near a Fan

Another habit that can cause eyestrain vertigo includes sitting near a fan or a vent. Air blowing on your eyes can cause them to become dry. Eye dryness can cause eyestrain vertigo as well.

Pay Attention to Screen Placement

Pay attention to the placement of the screen in front of you as well. The top of your computer’s screen should be at eye level or slightly below. The computer’s screen should be no closer than 20 inches from your eyes. Get out the tape measure and see if your screen’s placement is appropriate.

Adjust Text Size

If you are in your 40s or older, listen up! There are settings on your phone that allow you to adjust the size of the text on your phone’s screen. Increase the size of your font. Even though your teenagers may mock you and say that they can read your texts from across the room, increasing your font size on the screen can help you avoid eyestrain vertigo.

Related: Digital Eye Strain

If you spend time on regular computers, make sure your work area is stretched out to cover your entire screen. For those who spend a lot of time with word documents, increase the percentage size of your page. Those under 40 can follow these tips too to help avoid eyestrain also, as long as they quit making fun of us 40-somethings who have a difficult time seeing anymore.

eye strain vertigo symptoms

Other Causes of Eyestrain Vertigo

 Oddly enough, another tip to help with dizziness from eyestrain vertigo is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water seems to be the answer to many ailments.

Dizziness as a result of eyestrain is not just caused by using a computer. Eyestrain can also be caused by the great outdoors as well. While some are more sensitive to sunlight than others, we are all affected by the glare from the sun. To avoid eyestrain vertigo caused by the sun’s glare, wear a wide-brimmed hat when working outside. Also, invest in a quality pair of sunglasses. Make sure the glasses are polarized and offer 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Treating your allergies can also help avoid eyestrain vertigo. If you have allergies, your body produces histamines, a natural chemical that causes swelling and inflammation. Antihistamines help fight the allergies affecting the eyes. Typical antihistamines include Zyrtec, Benadryl, and Allegra. There are also antihistamine drops that alleviate those irritating symptoms of itchiness and watery eyes.

Related: Eye Strain Headache

If your eyestrain is caused from allergies, make sure you are aware of what triggers your reactions. If you have seasonal allergies and can’t or don’t want to avoid spending time outside, shower and change your clothes as soon as you are in for the evening. This removes the pollen from your clothes and body.

If dust and mold cause your eyes to itch and become fatigued, understand that you will need to keep a tidier house.

For those whose allergy eyes are caused by pets, consider getting a lovely turtle or a goldfish with a lot of personality.

Another cause of eyestrain can be stress. Those who have a lot of stress in their personal lives or professional lives may feel the stress manifesting itself in pressure around their eyes. Understand what may be causing this stress and work to rid yourself of what may be unnecessary drama in your life.

Treatment for Eyestrain Vertigo

Even though most of the time, eyestrain vertigo can be treated by giving your eyes a rest, there are other strategies to help alleviate the symptoms.

One product that is available on Amazon that will help is a Cooling Eye Mask by MediViz.

eye strain symptoms dizzy

This mask helps relieve itchy allergy eyes and sinus headaches. It can help with migraines and reduces dark circles from under your eyes. Those who suffer from puffy eyes from allergies often find relief with this mask. Take a nap with the Cooling Eye Mask, and you will feel more refreshed and rested.

If a cooling mask is not available, use a cold or warm washcloth. Place it over your eyes while taking a brief rest or a three-hour nap.

How to Rid Yourself of Eyestrain Vertigo

Go to the optometrist or ophthalmologist. Make sure you don’t have a medical condition that could be causing the eyestrain vertigo, such as vertical heterophoria.

Know the causes of Computer Vision Syndrome and learn how to avoid it.

  • Take frequent breaks from your computer screen.
  • Blink often.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Adjust your work lights, so they shine on your subject without causing a glare.
  • Sit at the appropriate distance from your television or computer. Use good posture.
  • Increase the font on your monitor, so you don’t have to squint.
  • Consider purchasing computer glasses. Remember the SightPros models can be bought with magnification, which helps relieve eyestrain as well. At the very least, change your computer’s settings, so the night mode automatically comes on at dusk.

Know other ways that eyestrain vertigo can be avoided.

  • Wear polarized sunglasses that block harmful UV rays as well as debris and pollen in the air.
  • Wear a hat with a bill.
  • Consider medicating your allergy symptoms either with antihistamines or eye drops.
  • If stress causes your eye fatigue, figure out what is causing the stress in your life and either try to change it or find a way to combat the stress.

Know how to treat eyestrain vertigo

  • Use a cold or warm washcloth over your eyes.
  • Treat allergy eyes and eye fatigue with a MediViz Cooling Mask.

Rest your eyes when symptoms arise.

Dr. Barry

Dr. Barry

September 22, 2018

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