I've noticed that I can read about 10x longer at screens and books without my eyes tiring using the "pinhole trick" - where you curl your fingers and look through the hole (great explanation here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OydqR_7_DjI)

Pinhole glasses (shown below) have been advertised as being healthy for your eyes, although there seems to be no strong supporting evidence.

If not for long term affects, would these glasses use the same pinhole principle to reduce eye strain and allow you to stare at close objects for longer?

pinhole glasses

The pinhole glasses improved visual acuity, DOF [depth of focus], and accommodative amplitude; however, they resulted in decreased visual quality including general reduction of VF [visual field] sensitivity, CS [contrast sensitivity], and stereopsis.



1 Answer 1


One (out of many) cause of eye strain is accommodative demand (the muscle effort required to make an object appear sharp on the retina). As pointed out by the paper you cite:

That is, the pseudoaccommodative power induced by pinhole glasses was 3.99 D. This effect may be explained by the small aperture of the pinhole glasses requiring less accommodative power for the same stimulus.

So if the source of eye strain is solely accommodative demand then yes, you would assume pinhole glasses to reduce it. However, again as pointed out by the paper you cite, this is not without tradeoffs. These tradeoffs could very well be the source of other types of strain. In particular the main source of eye strain is related to binocular vision (ref below), and stereoacuity was strongly reduced by the pinhole glasses. This is speculative but I wouldn't be surprised if pinhole glasses cause far more eye strain because of that. I also doubt there is any research on the long term effect of pinhole glasses.

Steinman, B. A., & Garzia, R. P. (2000). Foundations of binocular vision: A clinical perspective. McGraw Hill Professional.


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