Eye Strain

by Antoine Justice
(New Orleans, LA US)

Q: For roughly 2-3 years now I've been unable to wear glasses for longer than 2-3 hours without developing eye strain/fatigue. Truthfully this started when my glasses broke 2-3 years ago and I bought a cheap replacement online.

I have a moderate prescription (L: 5, R: 3.5) and I didn't buy the thin lense option which would have cost more, but might have been beneficial (since I bought the large type of lenses).

With my first small pair I didn't have any issues. However with the larger frame I also bought I began to have issues. When it came time to buy another pear of glasses at an actual store I then noticed I couldn't wear glasses without experiencing any strain/fatigue. I couldn't even wear original frames that I had before my "cheap phase."

I then went on to see several optometrists/opthalmologists who couldn't diagnose my problem. They tried special correction lenses and vision therapies I could try at all of which didn't work. I tried adjusting my PD down a little bit with one pair that helped but didn't solve my problem.

I'm not sure what the issue is. The only solution I have is to wear contacts as long as I can but I have naturally dry eyes so it's been an issue... Thanks!

A: Hello Antoine,

Reading your description, I must say I'm a little puzzled by your problem.
I can think about several issues that can initiate the eye strain, but it is difficult to me to offer a solution. Especially you say you have visited an optometrist and ophthalmologist, and they could not find where the problem is.

First, the fact that you didn't buy the thin lenses should not damage your eyes

Usually, you should see the same with a regular lens as with a high index lens (thinner), considering that the characteristics of the frame and the other measurements are correct (diopters, pupillary distance).

I guess you have myopia, so you have (-) diopters. I say this because you describe the lens being large with a thicker edge. Indeed, the smaller the frame and implicitly the lens, the thinner the edge, but this should not influence the vision quality.

Secondly, something has changed, and since then you have the eye strain problem

So we take it one by one:

1. The eyeglasses

Maybe the cheaper ones you ordered online were not exactly as your prescription recommends, so you used them, and your eyes got tired. The eye strain comes with eye redness, dry eye and sometimes headaches.

Then even you ordered quality glasses, because you used the cheap glasses for a long time, your eyes need a re-accommodation, and this can take some time. This can be why you had the same symptoms with the new glasses also.

2. Your eyes

Another possibility is that your vision suffered a diopter change. So you need an eye check and a new eyeglasses prescription. If so, when you did the new eyeglasses and kept the old prescription, this was not good for your eyes.

On the other hand, you say that you have naturally dry eyes, I think this can explain some of the problems. The dry eyes can affect vision and can generate symptoms like red eye and pain when tired. Moreover, if you add here constantly tired eyes because of the eyeglasses, you have the worst situation you can have.

In this case, you need to treat the dry eyes with artificial tears.

About contact lenses

If you feel comfortable with contact lenses, wear them, but you need to be extra careful with the dry eyes. You need some eye-drops that hydrate the eyes and the lenses in the same time because the contact lenses can hurt a dry eye quickly.

My advice is that you make a complete ophthalmology consultation and treat any problems you find and then make a new prescription for a pair of eyeglasses and wear only this pair.

If you stick to the contact lenses, be sure you use eye-drops all the time for the dry eyes and check the eyes for problems every six months.

Hope this helps,

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Oct 19, 2014
by: Antoine Justice

Thanks for the advice. It really helped and I apologize for posting so late.

You mentioned that even with my new glasses and new prescription that I'd require time to accommodate to them. I feel that it's been a year now and my eyes still aren't used to the new glasses.

As a side note I started wearing glasses from over 17 years ago and they actually don't hurt my head as much. It's very odd. I wonder if it's because their small size fits a smaller PD that my eyes have perhaps adjusted to. It's hard for me to tell.

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