Asthenopia (eye fatigue)

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Asthenopia describes a number of symptoms resulting in eye strain and/or fatigue, red eyes, blurred vision, pain in or around the eyes, mild or severe headache and rare double vision which generally begins after many hours of close work on the computer or other close work.

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The symptoms of asthenopia include light sensitivity, glare sensitivity, headaches, tired, sore eyes, and blurry vision. These symptoms, measured on subjective questionnaires are in usually mild, but worsen if the issues are not addressed.


Asthenopia has given rise to many occupational safety research. Since 2000, epidemiological studies have revealed many important factors that aggravate eye fatigue. Some of the studies included up to 6,000 people with eye fatigue who reported these causes:

  • poor ergonomics
  • insufficient lighting, and
  • uncorrected vision.

Improvements of the above factors helped only 50% of the patients, suggesting that other causes remained unnoticed, improvements were poorly implemented, or the patient was performing even more close work, which was more challenging. It is unlikely that simply addressing the above three causes is to lessen the incidence asthenopia.

Use of screen or monitor based electronic equipment or toys has become so widespread, and so essential for current work tasks that this has become a serious problem often reported to ophthalmologists, who acknowledged that habitual use of visual displays often leads to more visual fatigue complaints.

Tired Eyes

Conventional Treatment

Aside from spending less time on the computer or other device, there has been little progress toward relieving this serious problem other than setting up work stations properly, and getting glasses (or updated glasses) to help lower eyestrain.

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See computer eye strain research
Eye fatigue research