Headache from Looking at Phone Screen

Screen headaches may impact your professional and social lives, distracting you from completing your desired tasks or achieving milestones in your favorite video games. Let’s consider the relationship between phone screen usage and headaches and what other abnormalities it may present!

Symptoms of screen-induced headache

Symptoms of screen-induced headaches range in intensity from mild to severe. These include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Itchy eyes
  • Throbbing head pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Fatigue and strain in ocular (eye) muscles 
  • Dryness and irritation in the eyes
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

Causes of screen-induced headache

Headaches resulting from prolonged screen time may be a consequence of:

1. Focus readjustment

The resting point of accommodation (the screen distance at which our eyes relax) is readjusted by the brain repeatedly. This struggle leads to an eye muscle strain that may cause headaches.

2. Digital eye strain syndrome

Prolonged usage of cell phones, computers, or e-devices may cause close-point vision stress that may lead to eyestrain and headaches.

3. Fatigue

Screen focus with a small distance with the lens causes tension in the head, neck, and shoulder muscles which may lead to headaches.

4. Screen radiations

Phone screen radiations inhibit melatonin formation that regulates the normal sleep-wake cycle. The inability to produce melatonin disrupts this cycle leading to insomnia, confusion (due to lack of sleep), and a headache.

5. Blue light

Phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices emit blue light that over-activates the neurons. It is the most “photophobic” (intolerable) light and may cause headaches.

6. Poor sitting posture

A poor sitting posture may cause strain in your upper back and neck muscles that may refer stress on your head muscles and may result in an ache.


The following factors trigger a screen-induced headache

  • Eye infection (corneal/retinal infections)
  • Errors of refraction
  • Dehydration
  • Using a cell phone in very dim or bright light
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Hypoxia

Management of screen-induced headache


Phone screen headaches are associated with symptoms including blurred vision, eye strain, and throbbing pain across the head. It may be due to an eye infection or a focus-related disorder.


  • Muscle relaxants like robaxin and norflex are recommended
  • Over-the-counter painkillers like tylenol or aspirin to relieve headache episodes
  • Take a sufficient amount of caffeine in your diet.


  • Take frequent screen gaps
  • Adopt an appropriate posture
  • Keep yourself hydrated and drink natural juices
  • Take a rest after using the screen
  • Use screens at normal levels of brightness.

Home remedies

  • Taking a hot shower
  • Muscle stretches 
  • Drinking tea or coffee
  • Getting proper sleep
  • Taking a light massage
  • Keeping yourself relaxed.

When to consult a doctor?

Prolonged screen time headaches usually go away shortly. Mild-potency painkillers relieve pain. However, if these do not run out in a few hours, associated with other symptoms, you may need to visit your doctor.


Why is my phone screen giving me a headache?

Minimally distant usage of a phone screen causes head pain. It may also be a consequence of muscle stress, prolonged use of the phone screen, or a poor sitting posture. 

What do screen headaches feel like?

Headaches resulting from phone screens are tension-type headaches characterized by throbbing head pain, ocular muscle fatigue, dizziness, and blurred vision.

How long do screen headaches last?

Screen headaches do not persist much longer. From a few hours to a day, these usually fade away on their own or with mildly potent painkillers.

How many hours of screen time is healthy?

Minimizing screen time as much as possible is recommended. Try getting closer to nature and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Apart from work of course!

Last medically reviewed on November 7, 2022.