Good Hope, Heartlands, and Solihull Eye Clinics

Eye strain /Asthenopia

David Kinshuck, from lectures

Eyestrain / Asthenopia

This is a medical term, although not now in general use. Any patient with continued headaches needs

  • an optometrist's examination including a test for spectacles and glaucoma
  • and see their family doctor for advice, a blood pressure test, tests for diabetes and often other routine blood tests such as tests for anaemia and thyroid and electrolyte problems.
  • will be helped by not smoking
  • Wilkipedia
  • Specsavers
  • Asthenopia or eye strain..the eye is white but achy More.  New glasses may be needed; sometimes there is a headache. Sometimes anxiety or tiredness plays a role.  An optometrist should advise. The headache affects both sides of the head/forehead.

This page describes different types of eye strain.


Sore, irritable, or watery eyes

This is likely to be due to dry eyes, and an optometrist can confirm the diagnosis and recommend individual treatment. dry eyes



Specific headaches such as migraine need to be excluded, and a family doctor/GP/optometrist can advise. See


Headache from eye strain

  • nearly always this is worse after close work and better after a good night's sleep. Generally if affects the forehead on both sides.
  • it goes when on holiday or not carrying out close work, such as going for a walk.


Stress or anxiety is a common cause of headaches and eye strain. The headache affects both sides of the head/forehead. Exercise, new hobbies, going out with friends, dancing, all reduce stress, seeNHS   If you have anxiety, mindfulness, CBT etc help. If you have severe anxiety then expert help is needed NHS.  Smoking increases stress and anxiety significantly (although smoking immediately reduces stress, after that the stress levels increase a lot)



This is a common cause of eye strain. Medical reasons. See




Good lighting is helpful, and large print helps. An optometirst's examination is essential and the correct glasses or varifocals or immumination will help a great deal. An anglepoise light will be ideal, or reading with the sun behind you.



"Breaking up long spells of VDU work helps prevent fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems and backache. Where possible, include spells of other work, e.g. telephone calls, filing, photocopying etc. If such changes of activity are not possible the law requires employers to plan for rest breaks. When organising work:

  • vary the tasks, e.g. walk across to a colleague to get information, rather than e-mailing or using the phone;
  • stretch and change position;
  • look into the distance from time to time, and to blink often
  • breaks should be taken before users get tired, rather than to recover
  • short frequent breaks are better than longer, infrequent ones
  • individual control over work patterns is the ideal - don’t: – get carried away and work intensely for too long; – save breaks to take a few longer ones or go home early; or – use breaks for other computer activities, like surfing the Internet.
  • imposed rest breaks may sometimes be the only solution, e.g. in some data preparation or call centre work
  • breaks should be taken away from the screen if possible."
  • make sure the screen is the correct height and you are looking through the correct lenses in your spectacles, such as the middle section of varifocals.