The term "asthenopia" came into use just one hundred years ago. MacKenzie, in various papers in the journals and in his remarkable textbook, adopted it as the best term to designate a group of symptoms for which he cited nearly a score of synonyms. The common term in English was "weak sightedness" and in German Gesichtschwäche. What Demosthenes called ἁτου[unk]α ὀϕθαλμ[unk]υ was well known to the Greeks. He wrote :1
Eyes are said to be atonic when they cannot bear to look at whiteness, brightness or redness (fiery things) but on the least excuse close the lids and water, especially when reading. And these differ from running eyes, because running eyes shed tears without any external excitation, but these [the atonic] do not run without some exciting cause. The treatment is ambulatory, walking, running, gymnastic exercises, etc.2
MacKenzie's2 concise definition was as follows :
That state of vision in
LANCASTER WB. THE STORY OF ASTHENOPIA: IMPORTANT PART PLAYED BY PHILADELPHIA: WHAT OF THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE ? Arch Ophthalmol. 1943;30(2):167–178. doi:10.1001/archopht.1943.00880200015001
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