What You Need to Know About Asthenopia

Asthenopia is the disruption of eye comfort or fatigue while doing near-work and can lead to blurred vision, double vision, dry eyes, redness, and headaches. It occurs for various reasons such as uncorrected refractive errors (i.e., astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia, or presbyopia), inadequate inclusion of ocular muscles, and unsustainable visual habits which are often endlessly repeated. Asthenopia causes symptoms like pain, dizziness, eye strain, and headaches which commonly arise within 15 minutes of beginning close visual tasks.

Causes of Asthenopia

Asthenopia is often caused by incorrect positions of the eyes. When looking at a near object, the convergence of the eyes is required, which requires a certain degree of accommodation and coordination to bring the object's image to the central part of the retina. When this coordination of the eyes does not occur, asthenopia appears.

It is also attributed to physical factors such as unbalanced lighting, poor posture, and uncorrected refractive errors such as nearsightedness and hyperopia. Lack of movement of the eyes, namely Reduced Binocular Articulation or monofocal vision, is also a common cause.

Symptoms of Asthenopia

Asthenopia can cause symptoms that include but are not limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Double vision
  • Redness or irritation in the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye strain or fatigue
  • Pain around or behind the eyes

Treatment for Asthenopia

Treatment for asthenopia includes managing the underlying cause, such as treating refractive errors with corrective lenses and teaching proper viewing habits. Proper lighting is also important, and a comfortable viewing distance is also important. Eye exercises such as palming, swinging, and convergence can also help to reduce asthenopia. Medical treatment such as laser eye surgery, or medications may also be recommended to improve vision.