Asthenopia or Visual Fatigue: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Asthenopia is a comprehensive and ill-defined concept related to limited vision.

It does not refer to a decrease in visual function but encompasses all disorders and problems with observing objects up close.

This includes blurred vision, sporadic double vision, premature tiredness, and the inability to maintain a uniformly clear image at a distance, which causes headaches and other eye-related pain.

The term “eye strain” is often used and usually means that the eyes are tired from heavy use. This is not a symptom of illness.

On the contrary, eye fatigue can be caused by prolonged observation of a book, a computer screen, or even on the road while driving.


Visual tasks that require more significant amounts of concentration, such as reading fine print or seeing in the dark, cause the eye muscles to tighten and strain too much.

This can involve the eyelids, face, temples, and jaw muscles. Excessive effort can lead to pain and discomfort in those muscles.


Problems with asthenopia or eyestrain may be unavoidable since long hours of eye use may be required for our work.

The light is a trigger factor of the widespread visual fatigue, as in the case of looking at the monitor of a computer during long hours in a room with low light.

Given that many people tend to blink less when performing computer tasks, the problem of eye fatigue is often aggravated by dry eye and dry eye symptoms.

The defects of the eyes themselves, such as refractive errors that require corrective lenses or the inability to make both eyes work together binocularly, can also produce symptoms of eye fatigue.

Symptoms of asthenopia (eye strain) may include:

  • Visual fatigue
  • Eye pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Burning eyes
  • Crying eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck Pain
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)


Eye strain is a widespread and frequent problem since most occupations require constant computer use.

The popularity of smartphones, which have bright screens, has also contributed to this problem.

The following are actions you can take to help relieve eye fatigue:

Eye massage: A gentle massage can help promote blood circulation to the eyes and help relax the muscles of the eyes.

This can be achieved by massaging the eyelids and muscles above the eyebrows for approximately 20 seconds, then moving to the lower area of ​​the eyelid against the lower bone for another 20 seconds.

Doing this once or twice a day can provide some relief.

Palmer: Start by rubbing both hands to generate some heat. Once they are warm enough, place both palms over the eyes and let them rest for about 30 seconds without applying additional pressure.

This can be repeated as many times as necessary.

Receive sunlight: The sun is a source of great energy and can be used to help fatigue eyesight. You can relieve eye fatigue by staying exposed to direct sunlight with closed eyelids.

This is best achieved early in the morning. However, it is essential not to look directly at the sun.

Eye exercises: These can help improve blood flow to the eyes and strengthen them to improve concentration and focus.

Concentration exercises, such as looking at a distant object and refocusing it, are good.

Also, turning your eyes clockwise and counterclockwise helps stretch the eye muscles.

Coldwater: Splashing cold water on the eyes can relieve mild eyestrain, improve blood circulation and relax tired eyes.

It can also reduce the appearance of swelling in the eyes.

Hot compress: The heat is also an excellent remedy to relieve tired eyes and helps reduce pain and swelling.

This is best achieved by soaking a cloth in warm water and squeezing the excess. Then, place the wet cloth over your eyes.

Chamomile tea: The use of tea bags used in this particular type of tea can help soothe and relax the muscles of the eyes and reduce swelling.

This is best achieved by placing used tea bags in the refrigerator and placing them on the eyelids when they are fresh.

Rosewater: Considered a natural relaxation for tired eyes, it can also rejuvenate the skin around the eyes, reducing dark circles and swelling of the eyes.

This can be done by using a small number of cotton balls and placing them in the eyes twice a day.

Cucumber: By having natural astringent properties, this helps soothe tired muscles in the eyes and even reduce puffiness and dark circles. Cutting a medium-sized cucumber and placing it in the eyes once or twice a day can provide relief.

Whole milk: It can effectively reduce irritation and swelling of the eyes. This can be done by dipping cotton balls in cold milk and placing them in the eyes.

Make a mask for the eyes: Use a small towel, pass it through a little cold water, and drain the excess liquid. This can be placed on the eyes for instant relief.

In addition, the use of ice packs or tea bags together can provide additional relief from visual fatigue.

Change your lighting: When you turn off the excess light, your eyes will have to work less to adjust to the increase in brightness. Too much light can overstimulate the eyes, causing eye fatigue.

Adjust your monitor: Reduce the brightness to match the lighting in the room.

Adjust color on your monitor: Also known as color temperature adjustment, this feature can be commonly found on most computers and smartphones and involves changing the amount of blue light displayed, which causes eyestrain and sleep disorders.

Strengthen your eyelids: Close your eyes halfway, paying attention to the constant tremor of your upper eyelid; this is essentially squinting.

Relax and breathe: Close your eyes and breathe slowly. This will help increase the oxygen supply to your cells and give you a much-needed break from visual stimulation.

Cover your eyes: Avoid light reaching your eyes.

Blinking often: Keeping the eyes constantly lubricated can help avoid the symptoms of irritation and dry eyes.

With these simple tips, we can relieve Visual Fatigue or Asthenopia, which, while not a disease, can become a chronic problem or trigger an ocular condition.