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Can Stress Cause Eye Pain?

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A stressed woman rubbing her eye lid

Eye pain is always concerning, and the first thing on your mind is finding relief. The first step is to visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam and get to the bottom of your eye pain issues.

But what are some things that can cause eye pain, and is stress a culprit? Let’s take a closer look at eye pain and contributing factors. 

Addressing Your Eye Pain

Eye pain is common, and we have all felt eye pain creep in, whether it is the result of a headache or something else. 

Depending on the area of your discomfort, eye pain usually falls under one of 2 categories:

  • Ocular pain which occurs on the eye’s surface
  • Orbital pain which occurs inside the eye

Your optometrist can take a detailed look at your eyes and help you get to the bottom of your eye pain issues through a comprehensive eye exam.

Surface eye pain can range from things like scratching, burning, or itching sensations. Eye pain that occurs from inside the eye may be accompanied by a gritty, aching, or throbbing feeling and require more hands-on treatment. 

Stress can also play a part in eye pain. Feeling stressed, worried, or anxious can cause your body to react and affect your eyes and visual system, leading to eye strain and headaches.  

Digital Eye Strain & Your Eyes

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, can affect your eyes before you realize it when you spend long hours in front of a computer, phone, tablet, or another digital screen. 

Some common signs and symptoms of digital eye strain may include: 

  • Tired eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent headaches
  • Twitching eyelids

These symptoms can contribute to your eye pain and leave your eyes feeling fatigued. It is essential to take frequent visual breaks from your digital devices, so your eyes have a chance to get a break. 

The 20-20-20 rule can also help you find relief. The 20-20-20 method can allow you to get some much-needed rest and involves: 

  • Looking away from your screen every 20 minutes
  • Focusing on something 20 feet away
  • Looking at the object of focus for at least 20 seconds

Your optometrist can help you manage the effects of digital eye strain and help you find relief. 

A woman holding the bridge of her nose due to eye pain and head pain

Finding Relief from Eye Pain

Because various different things can cause eye pain, it is important to practice good eye care habits. 

Let’s explore some things you can do to help manage eye pain.

Wear Protective Eyewear

Protecting your eyes is crucial, especially if your job is visually demanding. Prescription safety eyewear can help protect your eyes and alleviate the stress that comes along with visually demanding environments. 

Contact Lens Hygiene

Your contact lenses are a helpful aid to help you see clearly, but they are essential to maintain and clean. 

Contact lens maintenance is crucial for your eye health and comfort. Speaking to your optometrist for the proper contact lens maintenance routine can help save you from unnecessary eye pain. 

Monitor Your Computer Usage

As we covered before, digital eye strain can significantly affect your eye pain and headaches. Your computer usage can be the culprit, whether you are playing your favourite game or completing your work. 

Breaks are essential, and talking to your optometrist about different glasses that can provide relief can help manage the effects of digital eye strain.

Taking Care of Your Eyes

Any source of eye pain can be uncomfortable, and finding relief will be the first thing on your mind. Prevention is key, and practicing good eye care habits can help keep your eye pain under control. Stress can be a culprit in causing eye pain and headaches, so finding ways to relax is essential.

Book an appointment with your optometrist to get your comprehensive eye exam and get to the bottom of your eye pain today.


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  • Written by Dr. Kam Dhiman

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