Most readers experience reading fatigue at some point in their lives, and students with learning disabilities in basic reading or reading comprehension are especially vulnerable to fatigue because of the amount of time spent in reading activities. Students with learning disabilities may be more likely to experience fatigue because they generally spend more time completing reading assignments and work in other academic areas than do most other students.
The following are some examples of symptoms of reading fatigue:
- Sleepiness or falling asleep during or after reading;
- Yawning excessively while reading;
- Itching, burning, tearing, or irritated eyes;
- Blurred vision and difficulty focusing on words;
- Excessive tears or extreme dryness;
- Sensation of having a foreign object in the eye, such as dust;
- Words "floating" or moving on the page;
- Visual disturbances; or
- Inability to focus in general.
2. Understanding Vision Problems - Could Your Reading Fatigue Have a Medical Cause?
If you or your child experience symptoms of reading fatigue, it is important to consult your doctor, an optometrist or an ophthalmologist who can provide an appropriate examination to determine if your child has a medical condition needing treatment. If necessary, your health provider may recommend treatments such as medication, glasses, artificial tears, better reading lighting, low-glare screens for your computer, or other appropriate treatment.
3. Assess Your Study Area for Possible Causes of Eye Strain
Prepare a place to read in your home that has adequate lighting. Lighting should be strong enough to prevent the need for your eyes to strain to discriminate letters. It should be soft enough that it does not cause glare on your page. Some readers prefer indirect or diffused light with a frosted globe that fully shields the bulb. Experiment with the positioning of lighting. Some readers prefer overhead lighting, while others feel less strain with the light positioned at their sides.
4. Prevent Physical Strain - Make a Comfortable Place to Read and Study
Provide seating that allows the reader to change positions and to sit comfortably. Ensure that the student gets at least 8 hours of sleep at night. It may be helpful for the student to take a brief catnap before long reading periods. Encourage college students to take breaks about once an hour to get up, stretch, and walk around for a few minutes. Elementary students need more frequent breaks of about two or three per hour. Middle school students may need one or two breaks per hour.