The remedy and solution for terrible eye pain and eye strain (from excessive computer use)

The remedy or cure for terrible eye pain and eye strain (from excessive computer use)

First of all, please check that you have eyestrain, not dry eyes:

a) When you experience the following symptoms

If you have any of the following symptoms, then you likely don’t have the typical dry eye problem, but likely have EYESTRAIN.


  • terrible eyepain EVEN WHEN YOU SHUT YOUR EYES (E.G. AT NIGHT)
  • splitting soreness that doesn’t go away whether you are awake or asleep
  • onset through deep and widespread sense of diffused pain
  • severe, almost throbbing – but constant – pain in the temple
  • chronic pain seemingly inside or behind the eyeballs


  • a dragging sensation of irritation and abrasiveness
  • nauseating irritation that seems to go all the way to the leg (nausea that makes standing up virtually impossible on many occasions)
  • nauseas senstation that deeply exhausts.
  • squeezing/ pressing/ pulling/ sensation of eyeballs


  • grating of eyeballs with a grater
  • eyeballs being rubbed with sand paper
  • eyeballs being burning with a scalding iron
  • heavy tired eyelids that feel totally exhausted when you squeeze/ blink
  • clear sensation of EACH movement of eyelids when blinking
  • glazed burning sensation (like a cool burning)
  • photosensitivity (eyes burn when looking at a computer screen or TV or even while driving)
  • scratchy sensation in the eyes


  • stickiness of eyelids/  lid movement felt clearly (sticky/semi-painful) (without any discharge)
  • sinking/ mucky feeling in eyeballs
  • stabbing sensation in and around the eyeballs, particularly  in the front
  • sensation of being swollen

The point to note is that dry eyes do NOT cause the terrible chronic pain when you close your eyelids (particularly seemingly behind and around the eyeballs). The fact you are having disgusting, murky pain when you close your eyelids is almost certainly acute eyestrain. Eye specialists are particualarly gifted with the inability to detect eyestrain, so you must diagnose this yourself.

b) If you have been reading a LOT/ and watching computer screen/TV a lot

If you have undertaken excessive reading/ computer use.

c) If a large number of eye doctors either find your glands/cornea to be normal or only very slight dry eyes

The third critical clue is that most eye doctors you visit will suggest that (a) your eye glands appear to be normal, (b) there is no damage to corneal surface.

d) If you don’t have sinusitis

In sum, if your eyeballs feel sore (not just the corneal surface), you have recently undetaken excessive computer use, and a number of eye doctors can’t find anything seriously wrong with you, then you most likely have strained (a) eyeball muscles, (b) cheek muscles, (c) nose muscles, (d) eyelid muscles, and (e) neck muscles.

In such a case you are VERY LUCKY, for you CAN VERY RAPIDLY (in just a few months) resolve most of your pain. Just follow the following steps.

Step 1: Release cheeks, nose and eyelid muscles [60 per cent of the cure]

[Updated on 5 Nov. 2013 and raised to No. 1 step, displacing the eyeball movement section to second place.] Most of the disgusting crunching/burning sensations noted above arise from non-eye muscles in the face. In particular, the muscles IN the nose and those connecting to the upper lip – these generally come together just outside the nose – are the MOST problematic of all.

These muscles are the MOST DIFFICULT to release, and in my case have taken nearly 18 months and are are not yet fully released. But relief is obtained within just a month, and the rest is mere repetition of the solution. Three key ways exist to release these muscles:

1) Crunch the face, then release. You will need to experiment. The most extreme crunches/streches are called for. Else there will be no effect.

2) Press very hard on the sore spots. If this is the cause of your pain (almost certainly in the case of computer overuse), you will find innumerable sore spots in and around your nose, upper lips, cheeks, forehead, and around the eyes. Press very hard on these muscles (if necessary, rub a bit). You might need to rub and strech at the same time. Try all possible combinations. You will hear all kinds of crunching sounds as you press/release/strecth. In my case this has taken over 18 months and still there are muscles which are not fully released. Press the bottom of the nose (the nostrils) to the centre of the cartilage of the nose. You’ll probably feel a very sore spot. This pressing, as is done lightly in pranayam in Yoga, is very helpful in easing the tight nose muscles.

3) Dip face in ice-cold water: This is something I discovered much later, but has turned out to be an extraordinarily effective remedy. The idea is to get a basic with ice-cold water, then breathe in and dip the entire face in water while holding the breath. I do it just twice, given shortage of time, but it has been extremely effective in reducing the acute tightness of inner muscles.

4) Warm compress: Put a warm compress over the eyes/cheeks/nose, and pressing (quite!) hard wherever you experience any soreness. I find that at least 10 minutes is needed to achieve a positive effect.

A direct result of all this should be that your eyeball ROTATIONS should be much easier, and you should hear less CREAKING noises while rotating your eyeballs. This is a greatly neglected part of the eyestrain remedy and I discovered ENTIRELY it on my own, after many months. It is surprising how tight even NOSE muscles get during eye work.

Eye RSI builds up over many months/years of excessive computer work and won’t go away in a day. Delicate facial muscles are the most difficuilt to resolve. I’m still not 100 per cent OK. I get back many acute symptoms after focused work (including attending meetings in which I have to look at a particular person for an extended duration).

Eyestrain also behaves somewhat like heel pain  – i.e. it is most troublesome in the early morning. Over the course of the day, particularly after a long walk at lunch time during which one streches/crunches the eyes, the eyes can get better as the muscles become more supple.

Step 2: Eyeball muscle release [30 per cent of the cure]

First understand how eyemuscles work (video below). Then exercise your eyemuscles, as detailed below

a) Do these eyeball movements. You must hear a creaking sound. That is the sound of eye muscles being released.

Further update: Imagine your eyes are an electron revolving around a nucleus of an atom. Now shut your eyes and move them around in ALL axes posible. Not just up and down. Like moving a hoolahoop.

The following eye stretches are very useful (I tried recording a video to illustrate all these exercises, but that didn’t work, so I may try it later)

1. Air massage with fingers [invented by me]
Bring the fingers close to the eyes (about 1 cm) and move them around slowly. Gaze gently through the fingers. You should feel a sensation (if you have tight muscles) – that is the sensation of eye muscles releasing.

2. Look inward and focus/unfocus at 20 cm in rapid random wide movements [invented by me]
Bring both eyes to look at something about 20 cm in front of you, and then unfocus.
You should feel a crunching sound (if your eye muscles are tight). Repeating this (in all kinds of angles/postures) will help.

2a. Look inward and focus/ unfocus/cross your eyes while working on the computer [invented by me]
Totally cross the eyes/ unfocus/ change focus and let the world become double/muddled up. Look close but “see” the distance. Look inward while seeing outward. A range of doubled up images is crucial. The periodic relaxation of the eyes during computer work is crucial.

2b. Focus at nose then into the distance
This exercise is typically found in most eyestrain websites. This is not really helpful unless you’ve done the earlier ones. However, once eye muscles have been somewhat loosened, this will help.

3. Hold a hard and strong gaze from the corner of the eyes [invented by me]
Gaze with eyes wide open from the corner of the eyes. Depending on which muscles are tight, you will feel pain/tightness. Keep gazing – hard and strong. Invent all variations possible. Do air massage while doing this. Hold to 30 seconds or even more. Don’t worry if you blink. Move the head up and down and try to find angles where you experience tightness/pain. I believe that upward motion of eye muscles is very important (i.e. gazing at the ceiling with the head straight ahead), since during computer work, eyes mostly look downwards.

4. Look ahead but see on the sides [extrapolated from information on the internet]
Go out into a large open space (e.g. scenery with trees/hills) and look ahead but don’t see ahead. See all around the centre. Think of a doughnut view with the centre not “visible”. You’ll get a “grand” view of everything. It will lead to some crunching sounds as eye muscles loosen up. The goal is to get a “whole-of-world” perspective. Everything is visible, including all extremeties of vision. That means that even though you are looking ahead, you don’t really see the details of what is ahead. Something like playing basketball, when you look in the front but know exactly where the basketball is when you bounce it below your hands.

4a. In a moving vehicle (e.g. bus) look straight ahead and watch sides of road go by [invented by me]
This is similar to No. 4. In this case the eyes must experience the sensation of BOTH sides of the road rushing behind the head, even as the head looks right ahead. This is a sensation to “see” from the corner of the eyes even while looking ahead.

5. Scrunch tightly and release [modified by me]
Scrunch with all your might. Let the entire face be strained. Hold as long as you can. Then release – suddenly. As many times as needed. Each (sudden) release should be accompanied by a deliberate command to eye muscles to “let go”. Imagine that your eyeballs are burning holes into your cheeks.

It is useful to scrunch one eye at a time, as well, to focus on one eye at a time.

6. Pull in the eyeballs, push out the eyeballs [invented by me]
This involves “sucking in” the eyes/ pushing out the eyesballs. I find this takes a lot of practice, but believe this has been pivotal in loosening up the muscles. Eyeballs must be as wide as possible while pushing them out.

6a. Pop out the eyeballs while squeezing eyeballs inwards with eye muscles.
Look out of the corner of the eye while doing this. Should hear a crunching noise as muscles release.

6b. Pull face downwards while popping eyes outward.
This will elongate the face and stretch eye muscles.

7. Be a cow [Cow mudra] Look not see [invented by me]

In this exercise you imagine you are a cow looking idly into the distance. Look but don’t see. You should not be able to recognise any individual object (even person). Details here.

8. Rotate eyeballs in OPPOSITE direction [invented by me]

In this you look bring both eyes together to the centre, then take them outwards, and back again.

9. Rotate your eyeball inward, and then rotate it outward.

This is DIFFERENT to the usual yoga eye rotation. It involves shutting the eye, then rotating your eyeball towards the back, then front. Then do the other way.

10. Open eyelids very slowly and very slowly close them  [from a website]
This one increases relaxation of eye muscles by very gently opening the eyelids (very, very gently), then very gently closing them.

11. The usual yoga eye exercises (rotate, etc.) [routine yoga exercises]
Rotate eyeballs/ rub hands and let heat go into eyes, etc. Note that these exercises will NOT work unless the basic ones above have been successfully completed. Close eyes and ask ONE eye, at a time to relax. When you feel total lightness in the eye, as if it were floating on a cloud, then you know the eye has been relaxed.

As the strain subsides, you will find that one eye is more painful than the other. That is because the less dominant eye undergoes greater strain than the dominant one. Details here. Almost certainly, you’ll find that the eys on the bottom (behind) the eyeball are tighter in both eyes than the upper ones. That is because looking downwards contracts the bottom muscles. These therefore get much tighter.

Step 3: Release neck muscles [5 per cent of the cure]

It is possible (as happened in my case) that nerves which serve eye muscles are impacted by tight neck muscles. [See the history of this discovery.]  With this release, pain levels should drop like a rock. Like any other RSI, however, the full release of extremely tight muscles can take years of exercise.

Step 4: Recover normal neck posture [3 per cent of the cure]

Now make sure that your neck posture is perfectly aligned and comfortable. In this regard, the following advice (from the Alexander technique) is very useful:

  • Think of allowing the neck to be free.
  • Allow the head to go forward and up.
  • Allow the back to lengthen and widen.

I have found it useful to think of myself as a schoolchild in year one, wandering around the walk to school, stopping by little ponds, pausing to look at tadlpoles (like the cow mudra, described above). The goal is complete relaxation and natural walking and sitting. Good neck posture will look like the one on the right in the image below: a slight curve. Not stiff.

Step 5: Take significant quantities of Vitamin D [2 per cent of the cure]

I believe vitamin D deficiency might have something to do with this, as well. Most people with dark skin are vulnerable to Vitamin D deficiency since they work indoors. I’ve got Vitamin D deficiency, and just around the time I discovered that my problem was eyestrain, not dry eye, I started taking Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is critically connected with muscle performance. I don’t think supplements have helped, but I suggest if you have Vitamin D deficiency, that you take plenty of it as a supplement..

But what if you actually have dry eyes?

Given the overlap between eyestrain and dry eyes, I believe that dry eyes is probably caused by compression of nerves that feed eye-glands. This can be tested by trying out the exercises above. If they help, then your dry eyes is related to eye strain.

Note: if you DO have dry eyes you’ll find a lot of resources on this blog, based on my 18 months of research/ struggle over 18 months, believing I had dry eyes. Some of this material might be useful.


Highly “qualified” ophthalmologists have simply no idea about the effects of excessive computer use on eyeball muscles.  They mix up symptoms from eyestrain with symptoms of dry eyes or inflammation. The entire medical profession badly let me down on this issue. See this:

I’ve wasted over $3000 and found the opthalmological profession to be incompetent in basic diagnostics. I was left to my own resources to find out the solution. (Worse, most doctors I saw did not even have a helpful or empathetic attitude. They were NOT interested in understanding my experienced symptoms). The profession displays TOTAL DISARRAY and TOTAL CONFUSION about dry eyes/ eyestrain. I was repeatedly prescribed medicines, when I needed an ENTIRELY NEW SET OF EYE AND OTHER EXERCISES. The medical profession doesn’t have ANY useful understanding about eye strain/ dry eye. So you are on your own. Best of luck.

I have now found the solution myself through hard work, trial and error and considerable experimentation.  One day, when time permits, I might write more extensively about the most miserable days of my life that are now increasingly behind me.

I don’t have the time to describe the physiology or biokinetics of eyestrain here.

My experience highlights the ongoing need for critical thinking.


I also recommend that you consider REGULAR eye and other exercises (outlined above) if you undertaken extensive computer work. That will PREVENT the kind of eyestrain I managed to get.

Once ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So PREVENT. Exercise, stretch, rotate relevant muscles.


View more posts from this author
77 thoughts on “The remedy or cure for terrible eye pain and eye strain (from excessive computer use)
  1. Jack

    You look scary in the first video and second exercise is too uncomfortable. But , eventually you find a solution that will help hundreds and thousands of people.
    Thanks for sharing videos.

  2. C.

    I'm also suffering from terrible eye pain during my work day in front of the computer. I really hope these will help, thanks a lot for writing this article.

  3. sudheer

    I am also suffering from dry eyes, not sure whether its really dry eyes. I do have vitamin-D Deficiency, but did not take any medication. I am thinking of revisiting doctor for vitamin D Deficiency. Thanks for sharing the information.

  4. Jason

    Hi there! I've been working on this set for almost a week now, and in regards to the video following "a) Do the following eyeball movements. You must hear a creaking sound. That is the sound of eye muscles being released" –>
    Can you clarify the difference between the video's extreme exercise and a fast combination of exercises (2) and (3)? It seems like an exercise that is a fast-paced combination of: (2) "Totally cross the eyes/ unfocus/ change focus and let the world become double/muddled up. Look close but “see” the distance. Look inward while seeing outward. A range of doubled up images is crucial. The periodic relaxation of the eyes during computer work is crucial" and (3) 3. Hold a hard and strong gaze from the corner of the eyes [invented by me]

    I was just wondering since I feel like I have been missing something and not exercising properly. Thanks so much!


    1. sabhlok

      Very difficult to explain, Jason. But the key is to do some extreme things with your eyeballs. Then relax. Then extreme, then relax. and so on. It is now more than 3 months since I started, and I’m now very close to normal. Some residual tightness when I wake up which eases during the day.

      I’m also very particular to stretch eyeballs after computer work.


  5. Jason

    I was just wondering today: what kind of rollers (material, length etc.) are the ones used in the neck exercises video? And do you have any recommendations as to where to buy one or what kind you would recommend? Thanks so much!!

  6. Joe

    How long do you pull in and hold your eyeballs (seconds?)?? Can you share more details about that exercise. How long do you hold them when you are pushing them out? Also, are you particular about what order you do these exercises in?

    1. sabhlok

      Just as much time as needed. 5-10 seconds or even more. There is no order. Depends on which muscles are tight. You’ll automatically know as eyes get better, which muscles and which exercises to do.

  7. Joe

    Also, can you describe the neck exercises in words if you are free sometime? I think they would be extremely helpful as the video is quite fast.

  8. Manuel

    during exercises, after the sounds stop being heard as often in head, it feels like eye muscles are uncomfortably rubbing against each other. do u have any recommendation when this happen sometime

  9. Alex

    At the end of the video, there is a cube-like shape roller you use that I have not found yet: the one that goes over the half foam roller during the neck exercises:
    Do you know what those cube-like shape rollers are named? I am so glad to read updates about your progress and research. I only wish more people knew what you know about what's going on. Any reply from the doctor you wrote a letter to? Big thumbs up 🙂

  10. Alex

    My computer is freezing today (Black Friday here). Pardon the split message into three – I have been doing these exercises (my interpretations of your writing), and the progress has been slow but I'm seeing progress! Reading is the hardest (cannot get through many pages without a long break), as well as focused sessions in class. I do exercises wherever I go. 🙂 I am so happy to not feel alone in this. Which is great because I've had these symptoms for over 7 years, the exact same ones you describe. I've found using the foam roller with the neck to be most helpful, as well as several other exercises. Much appreciation to your work and articles here. These articles have brought so much hope into my life; I am incredibly grateful….and also so disappointed that there is not help available through doctors here (my guess is many others are out there who are experiencing this).
    Cheers again.

  11. manu

    Dear Sabhlok,
    Thanks for the post. I have been suffering from the same symptoms which you have mentioned .Surprisingly , none of the doctor konw what is going on. So far i have consulted all the best konwn eye doctors in country but it seems all in vain. During last appointment doctor said that he has done what best can be done at this end , and there is something else which should be causing this. He has given the +0.5 reading glasses { i am already using the glasses for the cylinderical correction } , I am not sure , if i need + power reading glasses. They are of some help but not 100%. what would you suggest , should i use the plus power at age 29 , where the near words are not blur , but it is given to help releif some strain …. I'll try your exercises from today onwards and would update you on the progress …thanks again to you for the post.

  12. Alex

    I have been given the +0.5 reading glasses in the past, where the doctor said they were temporary and light to help with reading….a few doctors said that my eyes were locked up. Another said to do pencil pushups (other examples from doctors include – look at far and near, the 20/20 rule, etc. No medical problems show up on the eye exams. One center did see that I was having accommodative spasms, but that is all, and they have done all they can to try to help, to no avail. My eyestrain remained the same as before, and I wore bifocals for a few years. I can relate with having seen many (I cannot count the number on my hand) eye doctors as well…I wish you the best of luck. My warm compress has not arrived yet, but my only regret is not starting the neck exercises until 4 months in – with the foam rollers, half roller, block, etc. They are pivotal.


  13. Rob

    Thanks for creating this site, it seems to be pretty unique regarding this subject, there is so much information out there for mild eye strain, but very little for more severe cases. I've had similar experiences, regarding a long history of misdiagnosis and doctors not understanding the problem, i have been doing the excercies 3 months now and have seen a significant improvement (reading/tv and any computer work were all impossible!), i still feel i have a way to go but it seems to be on the right track. Just a few of questions :
    1) My eyes are alot worse during the mornings, do you recommend stretching them at this time, or is it best left to later? I tend to do my excercises not long before bed currently. 
    2) Is the regime of excercises, done together once daily best, or should i be doing them more?
    3) What about the excercises from sites that you link too, are they important, or am i ok just doing the ones you designed?
    Thanks again!

  14. Alex

    Hi Sanjeev,
    Just wanted to thank you for all of your research you've made available for others….and also some good news in an article in a Taiwanese newspaper from a day or two ago….my mom read it and is going to link me the full newspaper article later today….from what she has explained to me about the article, it speaks of how thousands of Taiwanese people (who have gone to eye doctors lately) have been going through pain – from computer/smartphone overuse- such as dizziness, blurry vision when reading (like spasms), and headaches…as well as neck and back pain, etc…..she says the article speaks about how doctors in Taiwan have seen many cases lately, and that it has been recommended to strengthen neck and upper back muscles,, which doctors there say have become stiff/sore and need strengthening…the doctors in the article recommend strengthening/working neck/back muscles, and improving posture, etc. It mentioned weight lifting too (for what reason, I don't know). I'll try to get a translation of the article later. I will see if it says anything about stretching eye muscles. 
    More evidence that you are on the right track! 🙂 

    1. sabhlok

      Alex, even more important than neck etc. muscles turn out to be face (cheek and nose) muscles.

      So internal eyeball muscles, plus outer face muscles, PLUS neck etc. muscles are impacted.

  15. Alex

    P.S. I have been getting many error messages recently when accessing your website, such as follows:
    Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/sabhlok/public_html/eyestrain/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/jetpack.php on line 3161

    Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/sabhlok/public_html/eyestrain/wp-content/plugins/polldaddy/polldaddy-xml.php on line 743

    Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie – headers already sent by (output started at /home/sabhlok/public_html/eyestrain/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/jetpack.php:3161) in /home/sabhlok/public_html/eyestrain/wp-content/plugins/chap-secure-login/chapsecurelogin.php on line 30

    Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter – headers already sent (output started at /home/sabhlok/public_html/eyestrain/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/jetpack.php:3161) in /home/sabhlok/public_html/eyestrain/wp-content/plugins/chap-secure-login/chapsecurelogin.php on line 30
    it happened again when I tried to leave a comment…cheers!

    1. sabhlok

      That was due to a server upgrade by web hosting company which meant some plugins were not working. This has now been fixed by removing those plugins.

  16. Alex

    Got a link to one of the articles; working on the second and third ones:
    notes from the first article (Mom read it to me in Chinese aloud):
    too high eye pressure results in very tight/sore eye muscles after long term computer usage. Crystal shape inside our eyes changes (medical term I don't know) as a result. Neck muscles 5, 6, nd 7 get hurt as a result of all the tension. Upper back, neck muscles are affected. Symptoms include sensitivity to light, accommodation problems, etc. Eyes may feel swollen, dry, sore, with blurry vision. Neck, shoulder, waist, and back may feel pain, and nausea and fatigue wmay result. High blood pressure is mentioned for some reason. There is too much pressure on the neck nerves, therefore affecting the eyeballs. 

  17. Vik

    Thank you for creating this site. I have been suffering for a year now. I have tried 5 optometrists and 2 opthaologists without success. Exercises does help. I went through the same with my arms. My suspicion is that there are several factors at work:
    1) genetic predisposition to tight muscles. A renowned hand surgeon had told me (about my arms) that my muscles get fatigued like the low mileage tires. Again, upper body exercises helps and hoping the same for eyes will work. Not a cure though. 
    2) vitamin d deficiency. Recently, I got my levels checked and found them to be 'abnormally' low.
    3) lack of blood flow. I found that running and cardio in general helps. My theory is that it is because of the structure of the blood vessels (perhaps not as elastic?)
    4) foods you consume. Certain types of food and beverages work for me, others not so well
    Finally, I strongly agree that YOU have to understand our body. 

    1. Shilpa

      Dear Sanjeev,

      Thanks for chronicling your insights on eye strain. I have had eye strain and light sensitivity for over a year and just one session of massaging my face muscles and hot compress have helped a lot. I used the press-pull-release technique of massage that Gary Crowley talks about here ( I have found good results with his techniques for other tight-muscle problems. Just wanted to share it with you and the community here.

      Thanks again!

  18. Vik

    Sanjeev, how often do you do these exercises? Also, do you have videos? The doctors are a waste of time and money; and some are arrogant. Thanks 

  19. jOHN

    I hope this works.  I have dealt with eye pain progressively for ten years now.  It started as light sensitivity and in the past couple years has grown to aching pains that will not permit me to read much outside of work.  I've seen several eye doctors and it went much like your own experience. 

    1. sabhlok

      Indeed, it is now nearly one year since I have stopped using all eye drops. Incrementally better despite punishing schedule of over 12 hours computer work each day.

      Yes, doctors are seriously wrong with regard to eyestrain.

  20. Ciprian

    I get the same terrible eye pain from computer use and after many ofthalmologist visits which say my eyes are fine, my glasses are ok etc.., I dug deeper and I came across this condition called Vertical Heterophoria which I suspect I might have. I suggest you get tested for it, the symptoms you have seem to be consistent with the condition. 
    Unfortunately there are only a handful of doctors that treat this, and none in my country 🙁


  21. jay

    Thank you very much for all this information; I've been seriously suffering for a few years now and have had the same terrible experiences over and over with doctors like you spoke about!

    Sorry to ask for more from you, but would it be possible to reword the exercises you describe in your video because I do not quite understand 🙁 I also experience a lot of aching pain when doing exercise 3 – did you find it painful too or do you think that could indicate something?

    I'm glad you've managed to recover so well, best wishes for the future!


  22. Julie

    Thank you for all this wonderful information. I came across your website yesterday and already feel some benefit to my pained eyes from your research. Have you ever looked into the possibility of trigger points (hyper-irritable contractions in muscle fibers) as contributors to eye pain due to overuse? Looking at your website inspired me to look up possible eye strain trigger points in Clair Davies' book, "TheTrigger Point Therapy Workbook, Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief". He mentions specific trigger points for visual impairment and eye strain–in the sternal portion of the sterno-cleido-mastoid (prominent neck muscles in the front of the neck), the orbicularis oculi (muscles on the face surrounding the eyes), and the zygomaticus and levator labbii (muscles on the cheeks and nose). Anyway, I have no connection to the author, it's just a great book and may be another useful tool for sufferers of this malady. Thanks again!

  23. Lucy

    Thank you for this fabulous website/blog!  I have horrible eye pain, swelling under and sometimes on below brow bone. They get red and inflamed and ooze stuff all day long some days and others day they are perfectly normal. If I come in contact with an allergen for a long time such as dust while i'm cleaning, then they will act up but it's not the root of what is causing it.  I eat a ton of honey and out of desperation googled honey for the eyes and came up with your web blog from a forum  and saw a guy had cleared an eye infection he had on and off for 8 yrs with honey.   I slabbed some on both eyes and IMMEDIATELY the pain went down, cooling and soothing.  I plan to continue to do this.  I am also trying out all your exercises and videos you shared.  Thanks a bunch!  Do you think the neck is causing some of the eye stuff?  I feel like it does if I use my laptop I tend to not sit as straight up as I normally would and I feel the eyes getting more tired and irritated easier than if I use my desktop.  I try not to be on the pc too often because I feel it does aggravate the situation.  Thanks again!  PS. I agree on your view of dr's and yet we have the media/pharmaceutical companies/govt go  to great lengths to keep natural healing debunked or out of the main stream advice for cures. Whatza matta with them! lol.

  24. nav

    Hi. I think I have exactly the same problem that you do. Been to twelve ophthalmologists and they couldn't find out what was wrong with me. They wrongly prescribed astigmatism lenses, advised sleep and eye exercises and eventually gave up. The solution is in two steps: 1. Break your sleep cycle by taking just one Anxit (0.25g) tablet and 2. purchase spectacles with glass lenses. I've been suffering for two years, and it was a big relief to not have strain any longer once I started wearing glass lenses. (earlier I've tried plastic lenses of Zeiss, Hoya, Titan Eye plus and another brand, but of no avail). As silly or impossible as it sounds, this was my cure which worked for me.

  25. sabhlok



    When I do the eye exercises, it does hurt (sharp cramping sensations), but I do not hear squeaking or crunching sounds. What would this indicate? I do have dry eyes, but pain and light sensitivity is out of proportion to dryness. There is not corneal damage, but pain is extreme. Do you have any input or insights for me, I am desperately as I have done all conventional treatments? Also, would it be possible for us to have a phone conversation? I can call anywhere in the world for free.
    Thank you for the hope that there is a solution for this terrible problem.

  26. sabhlok

    I don't respond by email (I run this website merely a general public service, and have no time or inclination to speak individually with anyone), so here's my response to Laurie:


    It is now three years since my eye issue started, and it is now much, much better, after I discovered the cause – super-tight muscles/tendons (including of the nose/cheek) due to extensive computer work and reading.

    Symptoms included extreme light sensitivity, etc.

    My view is that genuine dry eyes should not lead to any noticeable pain once you close the eyes. If you feel sharp cramping sensations that does indicate a form of tightness of muscles. You should not feel any tightness/cramping without muscles being impacted.

    Press your cheeks/nose bridge/ top of eyes hard, when lying on your stomach (let the head fall on top of the fingers), and move the head around and up and down. If you experience slightly tighter motion in some direction you are likely to have tight muscles.

    There is, in any event, no harm in keeping eye/cheek/nose/neck muscles as supple as possible. So I'd suggest you try to ease any muscle issues and review whether things are getting better.

    This can take time. A huge amount of time, given the tiny muscles affected. Their release is also very difficult compared with bigger muscles. I generally do all kinds of eye/cheek exercises when I find a spare moment (often even when I'm working on the computer).

    I've experienced a virtual 90 per cent relief from the levels of agony I was in the past. It has taken more than 1 year to achieve this level of relief. I expect another year or so to achieve 99 per cent normality.

    I don't take ANY eye drops since I confirmed to myself that I don't have dry eyes (despite doctors forcing their stupid ideas on me).


  27. Vik

    Hi Sanjeev, Have you tried Alexander technique? If so, what is your research or experience suggest?

    1. sabhlok

      Yes. Alexander technique is based on a good principle (posture), but it is a total waste as far as curing serious RSI (including of eye/cheek muscles) is concerned.

  28. Vik

    Thanks. What specific exercises, if any, do you use to relax tight muscles on top of the eyes, specifically around the Eyebrows and the top part of the nose. Also, do you have any plans to upload videos of the exercises you describe? It would be very helpful if you are able to do so when you can.

    1. sabhlok

      Just intense stretching of the fact (including pulling/ squishing, etc.) and intense looking at corners of the eye (down/ up, etc.) And heat pack.

  29. Adrian Maya

    Hi, I see that this blog helped you to resolve the problem, I just want to know if you have definitly resolve the problem, I have the same problem but I can not to find a solution. If it worked for you, How much time did it take you to be confortable? Thanks

    1. sabhlok

      I discovered the cure – through critical analysis, experimetation, etc. – roughly in May 2012 (18 months after this problem started). Since then 2+ years have passed, and things can still deteriorate after excessive work on the computer. I would rate myself as 2 out of 10 most days in terms of discomfort, with peaks at around 4 out of 10 on bad days. Before this remedy I was experiencing around 9 out of 10 most days and 10 out of 10 on peak days – meaning life was absolutely miserable. Now, I can cope well enough, most days. The problem is incrementally tapering off, but because I continue around 10-12 hours of computer work each day, it is taking much longer than it would otherwise have done.

  30. Adrian Maya

    Thansk for the answer. I’am wondering How much time (minimum) we need to practice the exercises to have a positif effect and to start having a real improving. Is oue houre by day enough? Thanks.

    1. sabhlok

      The way to do these (at least that’s how I did them) was in every spare opportunity, e.g. while walking (alone!), driving (only some exercises) and watching the computer screen (some exercises). Then, while getting up from bed, sleeping, etc.

  31. George C

    Thank you for your excellent work and your detailed progress. I too have been battling severe eye strain and have gotten no help from physicians. In your research, have you ever come across – or perhaps experienced yourself – ear pain associated with eye strain? I notice, particularly while driving, that when my right eye begins to ache, soon after the pain spreads to my right ear.

  32. Taylor

    Thank you for the information. It feels so great to have someone else understand what I have been going through for the past 5+ years. After hundreds of dollars spent at all types of doctors, no one has any idea what this feeling behind and around my eye is. I have even been told “it’s in your head.” I have also been told it is a constant low grade migraine – but it is not pain, it is a pressure feeling (although I have normal occular pressure) that makes my eyes want to squeeze together and causes me to blink hard in one eye. (most always my right eye). It feels like my eye is being pushed from behind. I am going to try to do the exercises above daily but mostly it just feels great to have my symptoms acknowledged and to know I am not the only one going through this.

    Have you noticed that during physcial exercise, mostly cardio, that the symptoms tend to worsen?

    1. sabhlok

      The symptoms of eyestrain are (or should be) unrelated to cardio/exercise. 

      The issue about one eye (right eye) is also likely to be unrelated to eyestrain, although that should not be ruled out.

      The key is other symptoms of actute burning/ pain; sorespots across the face including nose.


    2. Alex

      I've noticed that cardio tends to worsen the symptoms too. I have been told the same about it being "in my head" or a "low-grade migraine" as well. I have been to a chiropractor (who mentioned sphenoid subluxation and charged $75+ an appointment), physical therapists (neck massaging), neuro-ophthalmologists and various eye doctors (of all kinds, many renowned such as in colleges like Vanderbilt – taken all kinds of drops and medications – false diagnosis galore) including in Taiwan and all over the USA. Was referred to the Cleveland Headache Clinic as well at one point in suspicion of headaches causing eye strain, but in the end it has been a waste of money.

      This all started after playing many computer games with bad posture and lighting from 2004-2008, before symptoms started getting worse in 2009. I was also an avid reader – looking downwards to read – until this began.

      The new section exercises about cheek/nose/forehead/mouth muscles – I find myself questioning whether I'm doing those exercises correctly.

      I also find that I do not hear crunching sounds during the extreme eye stretches, although the other symptoms described in this article mostly match exactly what I'm going through.

      This eye strain has become unbearable such that I dropped out of college after three years, which is very frowned upon in my family's culture. Do you have a Facebook or twitter group where people going through eye strain can anonymously discuss this?

      This site is the only place that has given me any hope in the recent two years.


      1. sabhlok

        Sorry, unable to advice.

        Crunching comes at a later stage. Initially it is all too heavy/swollen/painful. When muscles are stretched/ etc. then then start crunching.


        1. Alex

          Thanks! I've always thought I was doing something wrong because I have not been hearing the crunching sounds during eye stretching (or any stretching). It is really good to hear that the crunching doesn't come until a later stage. You're right about how the eyes feel heavy, swollen and painful when stretching for any prolonged period of time – gotta think to myself "no pain, no gain"

          For the sore spots (in the mouth, nose and cheek areas), were you unaware of which spots were sore [that required pressing] until the later stages (after muscles were stretched?)?

          I don't hear crunching sounds with mouth/nose/cheek muscles, (or feel soreness unless I press extremely hard anywhere) so it's hard to tell which spots are normal. Maybe that awareness will come if I get the eye muscles stretched out first.

          1. sabhlok

            Sore spots all around the cheek/ nose. As you press them with fingers, you’ll be able to figure out. I had them all across the nose, including below the nose includnig nostrils and upper lip.

  33. Gail

    Thank you so much for the article you wrote and the exercises, helpful suggestions/ideas that you explained! Just doing this once started to make a huge difference to how my eyes, face, neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles felt. I have fibromyalgia, cardio neurogenic, syncope, Vitamin D deficiency, plus as multiple other health issues. I'm frequently confined to bed for weeks at a time (unable to even sit up) with severe pain, dizziness (to the point of passing out, severe headaches, etc.). Reading is the only thing that helps to distract from my severe overall pain. You are a lifesaver especially for someone like me!! My many specialists and even my opthomologist weren't able to figure out how to help me for more than a few minutes at a time. Thank you again! Ever thought of writing a short book (in e-book form and print) with this information and put in illustrations of you or someone else doing the exercises as well to help even more people? You would help an unimaginable amount of people! 

  34. Emil Bohman

    Hello sabhlok and thanks for the information on this site! I am writing to you because of an urgent issue that the medical professionals around here do not respect. The following has happened: One night I stared at a laser-light on my wall (I was playing with it) while a little high on certain drugs that obviously desensitized me. The lasers are used for healing the inner ear where I have damage, but for some reason I started playing with them. They light up quite a bit blob on the wall and the light is quite intense as they are 30 mW strong. After about 5 minutes I stopped and what followed was intense burning in my eyes and they started swelling up the next day and were swollen for about a week or so. In the beginning I was certain I was going blind and rushed to the hospital. They checked everything and my eyes were fine, and they attributed my pain to dry eyes, which I had. Obviously I didn't for no reason get dry eyes all of a sudden so their suggestion of using eye drops to "treat" this felt useless. It's now been 3 weeks since this happened and I'm still experiencing pretty much all or most of the symptoms that you listed about eye strain, so I'm guessing some of my muscles got overworked when staring at the bright light. I'm asking you if you have any idea which muscles could have been impacted? I'm feeling it mostly below and behind my eyes and in my eyelid, but my eyes are also quite dry so the cornea is affected too and it's sensitive to light. Also my focusing mechanism is a bit "tired, especially at a distance; could perhaps the cillary muscle that focuses the lens can have been impacted by the intensity of the light? I was worried first that something in my cornea was been damaged that they cannot see, but I'm thinking now it has more to do with the muscles. So what happened? Do you have a clue what becomes over strained when you look at bright light? My optometrist has no clue and says the laser cannot have done anything bad to me. Oh really… cuz that's how I feel about it too… or not.

    Thanks for taking your time to reply to me.

    / Emil from Sweden

    1. sabhlok

      Sorry, no idea about your case. If muscle, do a lot of the types of exercises (and hot compress) – if helps you are in the right diredtion. Fixing tiny muscles can take a very long time.

      1. dishani

        Hi I really need your help. I been experiencing dull eye pressure/headaches, pressure on checks and roof of mouth for over a year now.  I first got it in June 2014 a week before graduation ( idk if it's due to anxiety)  It was 10 out 10. I was at my worst stage. I had horrible migraines and I couldn't look at computer or TV or anything with bright lights. For couple of months I couldn't even drive at night! It was horrible. Now I have to say it slightly got better  to the point I am now 5.5 out of 10.  I don't have the headaches as much but Idk if it's due to stress that cause it. I went to three eye doctors and three medical doctor, neurologist and ear nose specialist and upper cervical chiropractor ( chiropractor said I had something wrong with my neck but after two months I didn't find any relief and decide to not go anymore ( only doctor that actually found something wrong with me and that may contribute to my eye problems)  and spend over 2000 and  all  the other docotors said I'm completely fine. I took cat scans and mri and it all clear. Doctor told me I had sinusitis which could be the case because I can't bright through my nose and I have thick salvia. But despite of sinusitis, my main problem is not able to look at TV or computer or bright lights. I must have all settings in extreme low brightness in order to watch or use computer for only 1 hour. That is how long my eyes can take . I would have extreme muscle tension:pressure around my eyes and cheeks.  These symptoms came out of nowhere. My eyes would be pulsating and my cheeks as well.  I always thought I might had been food allergy but I might be wrong. Please let me know if this is something to with eye strain or any other type of illness. I been trying to search for answer for months and months! 


        One men thing I find out that relieve some pressure was pressing Very hard back of my lower neck and apply pressure with my fingers relieves for moment but as soon as I let go all the pressure comes back . 



        1. sabhlok

          Given you've essentially ruled out most problems through contacting doctors, etc. I suspect you have eyestrain.

          Follow the steps on this blog and it might help. Someone with symptoms like yours wrote recently. I've published his comments today, as well.

          1. dishani

            Thank you so much for responding. Yes. The only thing when I look at computer or tv or bright lights I get blurry vision and a dull pressure on my eyes and I get pressure on my cheeks and jaw. ( Not burning) 

            From a year, I am doing little bit better. It has very very slowly getting better. I still have all the pressure but it is less severe from a year ago. 

            The problem with eyestrain can it go away in time or is it permaent problem? because my one seems to be getting better in time. 

  35. sabhlok


    Hi sabhlok

    I feel like I need to thank you for saving my life from unbelievable pain and suffering. You have been my saviour and thank god that I came across your website on dry eyes

    I had been sufferering from severe eye strain for 5 years and my life was unbearable to live with so much discomfort in my eyes. I did not enjoy living and I could not believe my life had come to this.

    i came across your website by chance after years of seeing doctors and opticians who could not help me further from eye drops and eye bags which did not really help that much

    I started doing those extreme eye exercises you mentioned on your site a year ago and although it was discomforting at first I kept doing the exersises. Scrunching my eyes severely and rolling eyes up and down holding position for 5 seconds 10 mins a day for a year has now resulted in me starting to enjoy seeing things again. I could not believe it cured me.

    God bless you man. You have made a difference to my life.
    I must admit though sabhlok that it was entirely my fault for getting into this situation. Watching DVDs on computer late at night for hours for months resulted in me waking up one day with very sore red eyes. Dizziness and very watery eyes. So much pain that I did not know what to do. 

    I don't want other people to go through what I did. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Suffering with this problem was the worst phase of my life. I wanted to commit suicide. Only people who have suffered with severe eye strain resulting from excessive computer work will only understand the torture I went through.

    I spent years trying to find a cure online and wasted so much money on products. I just wish I had seen your article on severe eye strain years ago. I did not understand what was happening to me until I read your article. 

    I want your article on severe eye strain to reach as many dry eye/severe eye strain sufferers as possible. I find it hard to believe that you were the only man in the world to suggest this remedy, course of action for relief. But it's true. There is nobody like you online or infact in the medical profession who would offer this line of thinking. 

    Thank you for taking the time to read this sabhlok and I won't take up anymore of your time. I've pretty much said what I've wanted to. I wish you peace and happiness and take care my friend.


  36. kavin

    Hello sir,

    I cant understand the 1st exercise video…are you trying to pop out your eyes with pressure and move them or just trying to open your eyes widely as much as possible and move them ?  can you explain please ?

    1. sabhlok

      No, the idea is move the eyeballs and stretch all associated muscles (you can feel them inside the eyeball/ cheek/ nose areas).

  37. Ahmed

    Hi Sabhlok,

    Thanks for putting all this information on your blog. Your blog contains a lot of useful exercises which help with eye strain. I could hardly find any other useful information on eye strain on the internet.

    I have a bit of a strange problem: I get a LOT of eyestrain from smartphones. I have no problem sitting in front of the computer or TV for hours but if I use a smartphone for even a few seconds I get the worse eyestrain that is accompanied by a headache. Due to this I own an old black and white mobile phone which came out sometime in the year 2000. The fact that I do not have a smartphone has caused me a lot of inconvenience and now I am desperately trying to adapt to being able to using one.

    I have spoken to an eye doctor about my problem and he told me that I have dry eyes. I have taken the eye drops that he recommended that will help lubricate by eyes but these haven’t helped much. In addition to dry eyes (which the eye drops are helping with) I also have severe eyestrain from the smartphones. I have been doing the exercises that you described. The exercises have helped a lot to reduce my eyestrain from using a smartphone. However right after I look at my smartphone again the eyestrain starts again and then I have to stop and do the exercises again to feel okay.

    Do you think I will ever be able to feel comfortable looking at a smartphone? Note that it is the type of light that smartphones emit that bothers me. Do you think that I have weak eye muscles? I am unsure what my problem is but any advice that you can give will be helpful.

    1. sabhlok

      I’m not aware of this specific issue, but my experience would suggest there’s no harm in really loosening up the eye and face muscles. If they’re in good shape, there may well be other causes. Dry eye is usually a lazy (very lazy) prescription.

  38. Karen

    I, found your advice very useful. I however experience more pain after the eye exercises, but I assume that is normal. My problem is not so much about pain but extreme difficulty in keeping the eyes open at times and having to blink so often that people start staring at me. I find when driving and in stressful situations the condition gets worse. I will do these exercises as often as possible. Thank you very much.

    1. sabhlok


      My problem was that my eye and facial muscles really cramped up. I’m trying (still) to slowly release them. Not an easy task at all.

      If your cause is similar to mine, I suspect you’ll have to work your way through numerous experiments, like I’ve done.


  39. Christine

    Thank you for your website. I also solve my own health problems. I find doctors are not very helpful except for ordering tests after I have figured out what tests I need. I can’t really talk about this with anyone because most of the people I know do not think for themselves and just accept the status quo. They don’t know what I am talking about therefore think I am extreme or out of my mind. It is nice to know I am not alone.

  40. Stacie

    Thank you for your blog, I have been suffering from eye strain from computer use for the last 3 years and like you have seen a ton of doctors that are not helping me. Your eye exercises do help however I was wondering if you ever experienced eye twitching (worse in one eyelid) during your experience. My left eye lids (bottom and top) twitch pretty much all the time. I constantly feel like there is something in my left eye. My eye pulls, drags, and just feels annoying. Did you ever have this? Did the exercises help with the twitch? I am now thinking of getting Botox.

  41. Narmadha

    Good evening sir. my sister is having the same symptoms what you have mentioned. But the symptoms are more and more terrible. Her power was 10 in right eye and 9 in left eye. Before 2012, she was not having any of these problems. But she has got all these problem only after the usage of smartphone. In 2013,one day , she read in smartphone for exams in a dark room, due to power cut. From that day only, she is facing these problems like terrible pain in eyes, eyebrows, center of the forehead, around nose when she use computer,phone,watching TV and writing for more than an hour. she feels very heavy sensitivity to light. Initially, these pain are less. Since she is a computer science student, she tends to use computer. so the pain increased very tremendously. Initially she was able to see the computer at least for 5 minutes. But now, it is gradually reduced and now she cant see the computer even for 1 minute. we have visited a lot of doctors. But they said that everything is normal. finally, they suggested her to do LASIK surgery thinking that may help to solve her problem. she also undergone with that surgery. But the pain is not reduced.she did with that surgery before 17 days only. when can she do all these exercises?

    1. sabhlok

      I don’t know about LASIK surgery.

      If the cause is related to tight muscles of the eyes (inner/ outer/ cheeks/ nose), then the kind of stretching and warming regime I’ve found useful could work.

  42. Abheek

    I have been experiencing extreme tightness in my eye muscles since 3 months. It all started when i started sitting infront of my computer for long hours. I experience sharp pain in the eye, eye muscles twisting, eyes getting locked . I performed a brain MRI but found nothing. I was recommended a cervical spine MRI and spine straightening was mentioned. All eye related diagnosis have been performed by 4-5 qualified opthalmologists and found nothing. I sit infront of the computer for 5hrs atleast daily. Initial symptoms included dizziness, fogging out, severe tightness in scalp muscles and also in and around my ears, forehead muscles, jaw muscles, shoulder muscles, back muscles, fascial muscles and random muscle spasms around my body. Tightness varies in the left and right side or is the same. Eyes become watery during cold mornings and condition becomes worse as the day progresses. My condition improves when i relax, but deteriorates as soon as i open my eyes and try to use my eye to look around, they either strain or swell with the efforts. Even my eyelids feel strained or under pull. This has affected my quality of life. No neurologist and opthalmologist could conclude. Spine surgeon laughed off with my problems so i was left with no diagnosis.

  43. Marisa

    I’ve had bouts where my upper lip muscle actually contracts, slightly, when I close my eyes. It’s a very weird symptom. It also sort of twinges in the middle of the night sometimes, if I am awake to feel it. Could this possibly be related to eye strain? I work in front of a computer with very bright fluorescent lights at my office.

  44. Ishank

    Hello Sanjeev,

    How are your eyes these days?

    Did you consider MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction) in your research?

    I am not an expert on this but I have read articles and seen videos that it’s been linked to dry eyes.

    Would like to hear from you about it.

    1. sabhlok

      My issue is very clear – tight facial muscles (including eye muscles) from static overload during computer work/ reading

  45. Ishank

    Thank you Sabhlok.

    I am on the same boat as you. I have been to five doctors so far. And five of them wants me to use eyedrops and wear glasses (minor cylindrical error).

    The last doctor at AIIMS thought its an eye muscle issue. In other words, weak eye muscle. He also mentioned poor convergence on his paper. He gave me some exercises to do pencil pushup (I checked some research paper, not really effective when done without Synptograph and other exercises). He also told me not to use eyedrops or glasses which had been prescribed by other doctors. I will be visiting him again next week.

    To my understanding, I could have
    1) Convergence and Accommodation Insufficiency- I have done a 1-week vision therapy program at a private clinic- complete a few days ago. I did therapy on a Synoptophore, and various other eye exercises.

    The program helped me with the convergence issue- my results were normal on the final day.

    But I still get eye strains and dry eye symptoms. The symptoms aggravate after lack of sleep, working late nights on a computer or using smartphones.

    2) Tear Glad Issues (MGD or Lacrimal glands issues)- I have been to doctors and asking them about it. But these doctors hardly listen to a patient and have their own opinions. A few of these doctors had noticed mild dry eyes.

    I also talked MGD patient and he helped me to diagnose the problem. He doesn’t think I have severe MGD yet. Additionally, eyes drops don’t work when pain sets in and humidity do not make difference in my case either. But I would like to have some real tests done on my eyelids.

    3) RSI of eyes- I tried your exercises- the first two in the list above- facial muscle and eye exercises. I felt relief within an hour. Maybe it’s just placebo. I have to do it, again and again, to confirm if these methods really work.

    I will be doing these exercises. I need to bring up the tear glad issue in my next visit. I will probably fo for Meibography (at a private clinic) if these exercises won’t alleviate the symptoms.


    Questions 1- Do you feel your eyes tired and mild dry when you open your eyes in the morning. It lasts for a few seconds.

    Question 2: How come dry eyes symptoms connected with eye strain? Since these symptoms are related which makes this condition pretty elusive. I was reading on your website to find more about it.

    Question 3- The 20-20-20 method, does help at all?

    Question 4- How are you doing these days? How would you rate your symptoms out of 10?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *