Stress Management Blog

Eye strain and stress

Eye strain is a problem that often can be intensified by stress. It is often caused by focusing too much on an object within arm’s reach, usually a computer screen, as the ciliary muscle tightens. One may also not blink enough, causing the eyes to dry out. Other symptoms include blurred vision, irritated eyes, headaches and fatigue. However, there are a few simple exercises that will help you relax the eyes and reduce the problem, whatever you are wearing glasses, contact lenses or have perfect vision.

Massage therapy

Massage is a simple way to relax the muscles around the eyes. It brings circulation to area and relieves sinus pressure. First, close your eyes and place your thumbs under your eyebrows, inside the corner of each eye socket. Press gently and move the thumbs in tiny circles. Work slowly towards the outside of your eyebrows and continue around the eyes, ending back at the bridge of your nose.

Repeat this several times. Spend a little extra time at the indentation of the inner eye socket, where the ridge of the eyebrows meets the bridge of the nose. This is an especially tender point for many people.


Simply thinking about taking pauses can do a lot to relieve your eye strain. Take a micro-pause every 20 minutes by looking at an object five yards away for about 20 seconds. This allows the eyes to relax. Taking long blinks will also help.

Sometimes however you may need to rest the eyes 2-3 minutes every half hour. Cover your eyes with a soft fabric to prevent light from entering, or simply close them.


Palming is a technique to relax your eyes by covering them with your palms. First rub them together until they are warm. Then cup them and place them over your eyes, without touching the eyes themselves. Sit like this for two to three minutes.

Focus exercise

The purpose of above mentioned techniques is to relax the eyes. You can also reduce eye strain by training to focus at different distances. For example, you can move eyes in small circles. Circle a finger in front of yours eyes, then close your eyes and continue to circle the eyes without moving any muscles in the face.

Near-far focusing

Hold a finger 6-8 inches from the face and focus on it for two to three seconds, and then focus on an object three yards away. Repeat this 10-15 times, focusing back and forth.


Move an object, for example a pencil, back and forth in front your face and follow it with your eyes. You can also scan the edges of objects in a room in a fluid manner for about two minutes.

If your eye strain does not go away you should visit your eye doctor and examine your eyes. If your glasses or contacts have the wrong power they can make you strain your eye muscles. Is your problem related to dry eyes you can try contact lenses containing moisturizing agents.