Asthenopia (visual fatigue): symptoms, causes and treatment


Asthenopia is eye fatigue . If you strain your eyes, you may feel tired, achy, or sore in your eyes. You may feel the same when reading or looking at the screen for a long time.

This sensation occurs after prolonged use of the eye muscles. This includes the muscles that make your eyes move and control your pupils or the dark centers of your eyes.

Some people may be more prone to eyestrain. People with dry eyes may experience eye strain more often. People who have poor eyesight but do not wear glasses or contact lenses may also experience increased eyestrain.

This article looks at eye strain and its causes. The diagnosis and treatment of eye overexertion is also discussed.

Get medical information / Alex Dos Diaz

Symptoms of eyestrain

You may feel eyestrain when reading or looking at the screen. Sometimes you may not notice it until you stop what you are doing.

The effects of eye fatigue do not usually last long. However, symptoms can sometimes last for several hours.

If you have frequent eyestrain and don't take breaks, symptoms may develop faster and more often. You may feel eye fatigue immediately after starting a session rather than a few hours later.

Symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Eye pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Itchy or burning eyes
  • Squinting
  • Headaches, especially around the eyes and forehead.
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Poor concentration
  • Shaky eyes
  • Photophobia or photosensitivity

Eye fatigue is usually temporary. It should get better on its own. Eye fatigue does not permanently damage the eyes or affect vision. However, it can be annoying. It is always recommended to avoid eyestrain whenever possible.

Eye strain can cause neck and shoulder pain. This could be because the way you sit can stretch your muscles.

Causes of eyestrain

Various muscles help focus the gaze. Like any muscle, it can get tired. This can lead to eye fatigue.

The ciliary muscles change the shape of the lens of the eye. They flex the lens differently so you can focus on near or far objects.

Eye fatigue occurs after prolonged use of these muscles. Activities that can cause eyestrain include:

  • Read
  • Driving
  • Working on a small craft or project

Smartphones and other portable electronic devices can also cause eyestrain. Small print and blue light can be harmful to your eyes.

Moving the eyes quickly exhausts the extraocular muscles. These are the muscles that move your gaze from side to side, up and down. Video games can cause eyestrain.

Risk factors for eyestrain

Anyone can experience eyestrain. It is common in children and adults of all ages. Some people may be more prone to eyestrain, including:

  • Students who spend hours reading or working on a computer.
  • People who work on the computer all day.
  • People in positions that require a lot of reading

People with vision problems are also at higher risk. These problems include:

Vision problems make it difficult for the eyes to concentrate. When you have these problems, your eye muscles will tense up to focus. Trying to focus both eyes when one is worse than the other can also cause eyestrain.

Seeing fine print or fine print tires anyone. If you need corrective lenses but are not wearing them, it is even more difficult on the eye muscles.

Eye deformity diagnosis

If symptoms go away after a few minutes of rest, you may have eyestrain. If this happens frequently, you may have vision problems. Corrective lenses like glasses or contact lenses can help.

Additional symptoms, such as nausea or severe eye pain, may indicate another health problem. Your healthcare provider may want to run tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.

A vision test is more than just a vision test. Your healthcare provider will also examine the structure of your eyes using vision-sensing devices , such as an ophthalmoscope .

Some conditions can cause symptoms similar to eyestrain. This includes:


If you have eye pain, fatigue, headaches, photophobia, and irritability, you may have a migraine . Migraines can be caused by eyestrain, but they tend to last longer. They also do not improve with rest for the eyes.

Tension headaches

Tension headaches feel like pressure on the forehead and the back of the head. They can cause pain behind the eyes.

Tension headaches can be accompanied by eyestrain. These headaches are usually relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) . However, these medications generally do not relieve eyestrain.


Tiredness and drowsiness may make you want to close your eyes. These symptoms are usually relieved with rest and sleep. Eye fatigue is relieved by resting the eyes.

Viral conjunctivitis

Viral pink eye , also called pink eye, is very contagious. When you have this common condition, the whites of your eyes appear pink. It also develops a scab around the eyes and eyelids. Your eyes may feel itchy and possibly sore.


Some conditions can have symptoms similar to eyestrain. These include certain types of headaches, fatigue, and pink eye.

Eye fatigue treatment

No amount of medicine or treatment can reduce eyestrain. However, you can learn useful strategies to manage this.

Rest your eyes

When you feel your eyes tense up, close them for a few seconds. It can help even with tired eyes.

If you are doing tasks that require long reading or looking at small objects, take breaks. Look away every 20 minutes or so. Try closing your eyes or concentrating on something in the distance.

Change the light

Always work or read in good lighting. Even if dim light sounds nice to you, it can cause eye strain later on.

Set up computers and phones

Adjust the screen to be bright enough. The contrast should be comfortable to read. Sit an arm's length away from the screen when using your computer.

Adjust the font size on your phone or computer. Type that is too small can be difficult to read. Large print takes up too much space on the screen, making it difficult to read large documents. Use a sharp, easy-to-read font.

Fix your vision problems

If you have frequent eye strain, you may have vision problems. Make an appointment to have your eyes checked.


Eye fatigue is common. It is caused by excessive strain on the eye muscles. Symptoms include dry eyes, eye pain, headaches, and blurred vision.

Reading, driving, or looking at small things up close can strain your eyes. The use of screens and video games can also contribute. Eye fatigue is common in people with uncorrected vision problems.

If your eyes feel better after resting, you may be straining them. If you have other symptoms, such as nausea or severe eye pain, you may have a different medical condition. Consult your doctor. An eye exam can help diagnose vision problems and other conditions.

The best remedy for eyestrain is to rest your eyes. You can also avoid eyestrain by changing the lighting in your room, adjusting the screen brightness and font size, and wearing corrective lenses if you need them.

Get the word of drug information

Eyestrain is quite common. However, it can be helpful for you to develop habits that give your eyes a break.

Remember, your vision can change over the years. Regular eye exams can identify and correct vision problems. Ultimately, this will help reduce eyestrain.

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