The biomechanics of the optic nerve head (ONH) may underlie many of the potential mechanisms that initiate the characteristic vision loss associated with primary open angle glaucoma. Therefore, it is important to characterize the physiological levels of stress and strain in the ONH and how they may change in relation to material properties, geometry, and microstructure of the tissue. An idealized, analytical microstructural model of the ONH load bearing tissues was developed based on an octagonal cellular solid that matched the porosity and pore area of morphological data from the lamina cribrosa (LC). A complex variable method for plane stress was applied to relate the geometrically dependent macroscale loads in the sclera to the microstructure of the LC, and the effect of different geometric parameters, including scleral canal eccentricity and laminar and scleral thickness, was examined. The transmission of macroscale load in the LC to the laminar microstructure resulted in stress amplifications between 2.8 and 24.5 × IOP. The most important determinants of the LC strain were those properties pertaining to the sclera and included Young's modulus, thickness, and scleral canal eccentricity. Much larger strains were developed perpendicular to the major axis of an elliptical canal than in a circular canal. Average strain levels as high as 5% were obtained for an increase in IOP from 15 to 50 mm Hg. Copyright © 2006 by ASME.