What is Eyestrain?

Asthenopia (aesthenopia) from the Greek word "asthen-opia : ασθεν-ωπία" or eye strain is an ophthalmological condition that manifests itself through nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache and occasional double vision. Symptoms often occur after reading, computer work, or other close activities that involve tedious visual tasks.

When concentrating on a visually intense task, such as continuously focusing on a book or computer monitor, the ciliary muscle tightens. This can cause the eyes to get irritated and uncomfortable. Giving the eyes a chance to focus on a distant object at least once an hour usually alleviates the problem.

A CRT computer monitor with a low refresh rate (<70Hz) or a CRT television can cause similar problems because the image has a visible flicker. Aging CRTs also often go slightly out of focus, and this can cause eye strain. LCDs do not go out of focus and are less susceptible to visible flicker.

A page or photograph with the same image twice slightly displaced (from a printing mishap, or a camera moving during the shot as in this image) can cause eye strain by the brain misinterpreting the image fault as diplopia and trying in vain to adjust the sideways movements of the two eyeballs to fuse the two images into one.

Questions and answers on "Eyestrain"

My eye pulsates whenever I read. A doctor thinks this might be a neurological condition. Is this likely? The neurological medicine I took made my...

doctor1 MD

Brief Answer:
Pulsating eye- not likely neurological

Detailed Answer:
Good afternoon. My name is Dr. Saghafi. I am a neurologist and would like to...

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I get frequent headaches in the workplace. I have a sleeping disorder also. Please suggest me the cause and the...

doctor1 MD


There are just two pointers in your statement – not comprehensive enough to suggest a proper diagnosis.

Workplace suggests refractive error...

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I've had anxiety disorder since September 2011, and since about January 2012 I've noticed increasing amounts of sensitivity with my stomach (I...

doctor1 MD


Thank you for your query.

1. Tinnitus is harmless in 99% of cases. Tinnitus is experienced by everyone at some time in their lifetime.


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