You’re squinting at the computer screen when you begin to feel pain behind your eyes. After a few seconds, you have trouble focusing, and your head begins to ache.\nYou most likely have eye strain \u2014 an increasingly common problem in our digital world.\nEye strain is rarely serious. But if you find yourself experiencing it often, talk to your doctor.\nVisit the UPMC Eye Center website.\u00a0\nWhat Is Eye Strain?\nTasks that require you to use your eyes for long periods \u2014 such as driving, reading small text, or typing at a computer \u2014 can cause eye strain.\nEye strain, however, is not a specific condition; instead, it is the result of different signs that indicate your eye muscles and nerves need a break. Once you can rest your eyes, the symptoms of eye strain usually go away.\nSymptoms of eye strain can include:\n\nFatigue\nPain behind your eyes\nHeadache\nDifficulty focusing\nA burning sensation or dry eye\n\nCommon Causes of Eye Strain\nAny activity that requires heavy use of your eyes and focus can cause eye strain.\nAs smartphones and computers have become part of our daily lives, more and more people experience eye strain on a regular basis. Some eye doctors have even labeled this particular cause of eye strain “computer vision syndrome.”\nOther common causes of eye strain include:\n\nImproper or insufficient lighting\nReading for an extended period\nGlare from a digital screen\nHeightened stress\nAn undiagnosed eye condition\nSpending time outdoors without proper eye protection\n\nRELATED: Health Benefits of Standing Desks\nWhat to Do for Eye Strain\nYou can take steps to reduce strain on your eyes \u2014 even if you spend your days working in front of a computer screen.\nFirst, give your eyes a break. After 20 minutes or so, look away from your computer, phone, or tablet. Then close your eyes for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to recover. If you spend hours staring at a computer screen, turn down the brightness level to reduce glare.\nIf your eyes are dry, moisturize them with eye drops or use a humidifier in your work space. Most importantly, limit the amount of time you spend staring at your phone, tablet, computer, and other digital devices.\nWhen Is Eye Strain Serious?\nIn some cases, eye strain can indicate an undiagnosed condition. Talk to your doctor if symptoms do not go away after simply resting your eyes.\nYou may have uncorrected vision or astigmatism, which can worsen without treatment. Uncorrected vision, such as nearsightedness, can be treated with contact lenses or glasses. Ask your doctor for more information.