Eyestrain (Asthenopia): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment


Do your eyes always feel sore, tired and achy? Do the symptoms worsen after you have been reading for a long period of time? Or, maybe your eyes feel strained after a series of text messages on your smartphone. Experiencing any of these could mean that you might have excessive eyestrain or a condition that in clinical terms is known as 'asthenopia'.

Read on to know more about this condition, its symptoms, primary causes, treatment and prevention methods.

More commonly known as eyestrain or ocular fatigue, asthenopia is a common condition that occurs when the eyes become tired after intense use . The common causes for this are looking at the computer screen for extended periods and straining to see under dim light condition.

Most of the time this condition is not serious and the symptoms tend to vanish once you begin to rest your eyes. However, it is important to know that sometimes asthenopia could be related to an underlying vision problem such as farsightedness or astigmatism .

One of the topmost causes of asthenopia is the prolonged use of computers and digital devices. This condition has also come to be referred to as 'computer vision syndrome' or 'digital eyestrain' .

Apart from looking at screens for extended periods, the following are some of the other prime causes of this condition :

Although the symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the cause, the most common symptoms are as follows :

Few people may also experience reflex symptoms from asthenopia. These include the following :

Few changes to your surrounding and your daily lifestyle should be sufficient to treat asthenopia effectively. The following are some tips that can help you treat asthenopia at home:

When symptoms of asthenopia are severe or linked to another underlying condition, then medical intervention becomes necessary. Consult an ophthalmologist if you continue to face severe symptoms of asthenopia in spite of making changes in your lifestyle such as reduced screen time. Medical treatment for asthenopia might include the following :

People who have binocular vision disorder are at a greater risk for asthenopia. Also, people who work on the computer for a good portion of the day are also at a higher risk of developing symptoms of this condition. Studies show that about 70 per cent of computer users would experience asthenopia at some point in their life . Going by statistics, the elderly population have been observed to have a higher incidence of dry eye syndrome.

Eyestrain does not have any long-term or serious complications or consequences as such. However, if left untreated, it can aggravate and turn unpleasant. It can reduce your ability to concentrate to a great extent.

The best way to prevent this condition is to limit activities that can strain your eyes. Always take enough breaks when engaging in tasks that require intense focus. Limit the time that you spend on your digital device or computer.

Also, ensure that you have regular eye examinations . This can help in early diagnosis and treatment of vision-related changes or other eye problems.

Moreover, people who suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure are at an increased risk for developing an eye disease. Therefore, they should maintain regular appointments with an ophthalmologist.

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