What causes tired eyes, and what to do about it

Dec 19, 2022 | Eye Health

Have you noticed that your eyes feel tired, strained, or dry? You may be wondering why your eyes feel this way and what can be done about it. Here at Spring House Eye Associates with locations in Spring House, PA, and Glenside, PA, many of our patients have expressed concern about experiencing tired eyes and eye strain.  The medical term for this condition is asthenopia, and it can have various causes. 

What causes tired eyes? 

Let’s take a closer look at the underlying causes of asthenopia so you can better understand what’s going on with your vision health. 

Overexertion of the eye muscles 

The most common cause of asthenopia is simply overexerting the eye muscles due to prolonged staring or reading without taking breaks or focusing on faraway objects periodically to rest the eyes. If you work in front of a computer all day and don’t take many breaks, you’ll feel the effects of digital eye strain which can cause tired eyes. 

This type of eyestrain can also occur from activities that require squinting such as driving, playing sports, or using a smartphone in bright sunlight. In these cases, giving your eyes regular breaks and practicing proper ergonomics can help reduce strain and prevent symptoms of asthenopia. 

Uncorrected vision problems

Another potential cause of asthenopia is uncorrected vision problems like nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia). If you are having difficulty seeing clearly, it can lead to straining the eye muscles in an attempt to focus properly. Wearing glasses or contact lenses designed specifically for correcting any underlying refractive errors is an effective solution for addressing asthenopia in these cases. 

Underlying eye conditions

In some cases, asthenopia may be caused by underlying eye conditions such as dry eye disease or blepharitis. These conditions tend to cause irritation and redness that can make it difficult for you to keep your eyes open because they become painful and uncomfortable over time. 

Treating the underlying condition with medication prescribed by our optometrists at Spring House Eye Associates will usually help relieve symptoms associated with asthenopia in these instances.  

What can I do to help my tired eyes?

If you think that one of the above causes is causing your tired eyes, there are some steps you can take to help relieve it. 

Get enough sleep

Getting eight hours of sleep per night helps ensure that your body gets adequate rest and allows your eyes time to relax and recover from any strain they’ve been under throughout the day. 

Limit Screen Time

Staring at screens for prolonged periods of time can cause eye strain and fatigue. Consider taking regular breaks from looking at screens throughout the day to give yourself and your eyes a break from all the blue light being emitted from them. 

Get an eye exam 

It’s important to have regular checkups with an optometrist or ophthalmologist to check for vision problems and screen for any underlying medical issues like dry eye disease which may be causing your eyestrain. They also may prescribe treatments such as special eyedrops or artificial tears which can help reduce discomfort caused by dryness in the eyes.   


Eye fatigue and eyestrain is a common issue that many people experience due to overexertion of the eye muscles due to prolonged staring at screens or other activities which require focus, such as driving; uncorrected vision problems, and underlying eye conditions such as dry eye or blepharitis. Getting adequate sleep, limiting screen time, and getting an eye exam are all ways you can help your tired eyes feel better! 

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