What binge-watching does to your eyes and brain
Eye pain can range in its intensity. Sometime it’s a mild, nagging pain, at other times it’s acute and almost unbearable. All the same, it’s an uncomfortable sensation and makes it difficult for you to go about your day.
Eye pain can be unilateral or bilateral: you can experience pain in one eye or both. There are many reasons why your eyes might hurt, and looking at a screen for long hours tops the list
What binge-watching does to your eyes and brain
The rise of OTT platforms has introduced us to a new indulgence – binge-watching. We’re almost all now guilty of watching an entire season of a series in one go. While this might be pleasurable, it’s not exactly healthy for our eyes and brain.
When we watch shows for hours our brain releases dopamine, the same ‘feel-good’ hormone it releases when we eat our favourite chocolate or fried snack. The result? We want to keep indulging in the activity to keep the flow of dopamine going, even though it might be harmful for us.
Binge-watching isn’t great for your eyes. The high-energy blue light that emanates from your screen is particularly harmful. It can cause many problems, like dry and itchy eyes, blurred or double vision, watery eyes and pain. Staring at your laptop for too long can also cause computer vision syndrome, which causes your eyes to dry out, itch and swell up.
How can you prevent eye pain?
One of the best ways to prevent eye pain is to improve your TV- or screen-viewing habits. Another way is to actively care for your eyes. Here are some things you can do:
Ambient lighting: While watching television, ensure that the room you’re in is softly lit and not completely dark. While reading, make sure your light source is above you, so that ample light falls on your page and you don’t have to strain your eyes to decipher the words.
Use the right eyewear: If you’re working on a computer, get your hands on a pair of computer-reading glasses. These glasses are specially designed to reduce eye strain and come with an anti-reflective coating that reduces screen glare (1).
Take breaks: While reading or working on your laptop, take regular screen breaks (2). Twice every hour, look away from your screen for at least 5 minutes. You can look outside the window, sip some water, or do some eye exercises.
Causes of eye pain
Here are the most common reasons for eye pain:
- Styes: A stye looks a lot like a pimple, and is usually on the outer or inner eyelid. Styes can be quite painful and are usually caused by an infected oil gland or hair follicle in your eyelid. Besides pain, styes can also make your eyes water and cause your eyelids to swell.
- Corneal abrasions: A corneal abrasion takes place when there is a scratch on the surface of the cornea. The cornea is the clear, dome-like structure that covers the front part of your eye.
- Dry eye syndrome: Decreased tear production can cause the surface of your eyes to dry up. This causes your eyes to turn red, and feel itchy and painful.
- Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): The conjunctiva is a clear, thin membrane that covers a portion of the surface of your eye and the inner surface of your eyelids. It keeps the eye protected and lubricated at all times. Allergies, and viral or bacterial infections can inflame the conjunctiva and result in conjunctivitis. The most common symptoms are eye pain, redness, a watery or a pus-filled discharge, and puffy eyelids.
- Blepharitis: Tough to pronounce, right? Simply put, this is a condition where your eyelash follicles get inflamed. If bacteria are allowed to collect along your lash line, you could experience this problem.
Sinus Headache: When there is inflammation or infection within one or more of your sinuses it can result in pain behind the eye. The sinuses are air pockets that are located behind and around your nose and forehead. They flush out germs by producing mucous.
Eye pain treatment and home remedies
Home remedies can provide temporary respite from many common eye problems and help soothe eye pain. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Warm compresses: Placing a clean, warm, moist towel over your eyes can help you feel relaxed. Compresses are especially effective for relieving pain caused by conjunctivitis, blepharitis, or a stye (3).
- Eye supplements: Supplements can help provide your eyes with the vitamins they need but don’t receive in adequate amounts. Setu Eye Max contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin, perhaps the most important eye vitamins. It also contains other eye-friendly ingredients that help reduce fatigue and keep your eyes moisturised.
- Sun protection: When your eyes are exposed to glaring sunlight, they can get dry and begin to hurt. Always step out with a trusty pair of sunglasses. Apart from looking stylish, you’ll also be sheltering your eyes from the harsh sunlight!
- Adequate nutrition: Eating eye-healthy foods can help protect your eyes from certain eye conditions, such as macular degeneration. A great way to consume these foods, which includes spinach, lettuce, broccoli and capsicum, is by making tasty salads.
These eye pain remedies can provide you with timely relief, while some of them can even reduce your chances of developing eye problems due to bad habits or inadequate nutrition.
What happens if an eye ache isn’t treated?
There might be times when your eye ache disappears with home remedies or time. Other times, however, the pain may not go away. When this happens, it’s always best to see an eye doctor sooner rather than later to nip problems in the bud
Untreated eye pain can cause other complications, so be proactive about seeking treatment. You don’t want to mess around with the safety of one of the most important organs of your body!
When should I see a doctor about eye pain?
See an ophthalmologist to get treatment for eye pain if you’re feeling nauseous, seeing lights or halos in front of your eyes, or have a fever and blurry vision. You should also see a specialist if your eye pain doesn’t abate soon. Don’t wait for too long, timely action is the best action when it comes to your eyes.
Which type of glaucoma causes eye pain?
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a condition where the pressure inside your eye rises because eye fluid isn’t draining the way it should. This is one of the more serious causes of eye pain.