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Can Eye Strain Cause Dizziness?

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A senior woman wearing a white shirt and black eyeglasses holding her hands to her forehead and closing her eyes as if in pain.

Experiencing dizziness after staring at your computer or phone screen for too long can be common. But you might be wondering, what’s the connection?

Eye strain can cause dizziness and balance problems. When we focus intently on screens or other detailed tasks for prolonged periods, our eye muscles tense up, leading to headaches and dizziness. 

If you notice dizziness often after spending time on a digital device, it’s a good idea to visit your eye doctor. Regular eye exams are crucial as they help your eye doctor detect underlying vision issues and support your overall eye health. Your eyes work hard for you, so it’s only fair to take care of them. 

Where Does Dizziness Come From?

Dizziness is a disorienting and unsettling sensation that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It can leave you feeling lightheaded and unsteady, such as if the world around you is moving when it’s not. 

Dizziness can be a symptom of an underlying problem affecting the ears and eyes. Various factors can cause dizziness, including:

  • Balance problems
  • Inner ear problems
  • Low blood pressure or low blood sugar
  • Medication
  • Alcohol
  • Concussion
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Vision problems

What Is Eye Strain?

Eye strain, also called digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, is often the cause of tired eyes after looking at a digital screen. It occurs when your eyes become fatigued due to prolonged activities that require intense visual focus. Many of us spend hours daily reading, staring at screens, or doing detailed work, which can strain our eyes.

Symptoms of eye strain can include the following:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Sore eyes 
  • Burning eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurry vision 
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity

The Link Between Eye Strain & Dizziness

Impaired vision and dizziness can result from several things affecting communication between your visual system and the brain. 

Visual Overload

The root cause of dizziness from eye strain lies in how your eyes and brain work together. When you focus intently on a screen or text, your eye muscles tense up, and you may inadvertently forget to blink often. 

Reduced blinking means your eyes aren’t getting enough lubrication, leading to dryness, irritation, and sometimes, blurry vision. As a result, your eyes send mixed signals to your brain, which can contribute to feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness.


Another reason for dizziness can be the connection between eye strain and muscle tension. When your eye muscles are overworked, it can trigger a domino effect of tension in your head, neck, and shoulders. This tension, in turn, can cause headaches and contribute to the feeling of dizziness. 

Vision Conditions

Vision-related dizziness can result from several eye conditions.

Eye Misalignment

Binocular vision is when both eyes work together to produce a unified image that the brain can interpret. In eye misalignment, there’s a disconnect in the visual perception between the eyes. The eye muscles strain to provide a single clear image, leading to dizziness, disorientation, and headaches. 

Vision Prescription

When you have an incorrect eyeglasses prescription or a significant difference in the prescription between both eyes, called anisometropia or antimetropia, it can lead to dizziness. 

When to Seek Help

While dizziness can be a temporary symptom, severe or persistent dizziness or problems with balance should be evaluated by your healthcare professional or eye doctor to rule out any underlying health issues. Your eye doctor may recommend a glasses or contact lens prescription to correct misalignment or refractive errors and visual acuity for both eyes. 

A woman in a pink sweater drinking a glass of water.

Tips to Ease Eye Strain & Dizziness

While eye strain and dizziness can be bothersome, there are several prevention tips and ways you may be able to reduce dizziness.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something at least 20 feet away to help relax your eye muscles.
  • Blink: Frequent blinking when you’re engrossed in a screen helps keep your eyes moist and refreshed.
  • Adjust screen settings: Tweak the brightness, contrast, and font size to reduce strain on your eyes. Also, position the screen at arm’s length and at or slightly below eye level. 
  • Mind your posture: Sit comfortably with proper posture while using screens to avoid unnecessary tension in your neck, back, and shoulders.
  • Adjust lighting: Ensure adequate lighting to reduce glare and squinting, which can contribute to eye strain.
  • Use eye drops: Eye drops or artificial tears can help with dry and irritated eyes and reduce blurry vision. 
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help maintain overall eye health and prevent dryness.
  • Have regular eye checkups: Don’t forget to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams to spot potential vision problems early on.

Maintain Your Eye & Overall Health

Your eyes are precious, and they work hard to keep up with your daily activities. When you adopt healthy eye habits, you can help minimize eye strain and related dizziness.

For questions about dizziness and vision problems, contact Crum Optometric Group or book an eye exam with our optometrists if you’re experiencing symptoms.

Written by Total Vision

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