What is the particular word we use when we talk about focusing to read a word using our eyes with more stress?

What I want to ask is that there is a piece of writing that is blurred or the light is poor that doesn't allow me to read things clearly so I have to contract my eyes or go closer to the screen, for instance. I have to use more of the natural strength of vision.

Such as when the brightness of the mobile screen is very high or fonts size in a document is very small, or there is direct light on our eyes while we're reading, our eyes have to work harder to read the text to understand words, either by partly closing our eyes or widening them.

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    When light is dim, or fonts are small, many British people will say that they have to 'screw up their eyes' to read, or more formally, 'strain their eyes' . Commented Jan 18, 2020 at 9:38

1 Answer 1


I would suggest using the word 'strain'. An example would be:

I had to strain [my eyes] to be able to read the small print.

You could leave out 'my eyes' since very few people would have any difficulty in understanding that you meant your eyes - it is implicit if you leave that out.

Hope that helps,


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