Did You Know Stress Can be a Strain on Your Eyes?
Posted by: Cobb Eye Center in Eye Health on January 25, 2023
Stress is one factor that affects most of us in our busy lives, and health conditions from stress are common. However, did you know that stress can also affect your eyes? When life feels too busy or demanding, your eyes can pay the price like the rest of your body does during those emotionally difficult times.
Here are a few stress-related eye symptoms below that can result from too much stress and what to do about them.
Common Stress-Related Eye Problems
Most stresses caused by eye issues are temporary. Here are a few examples of when stress causes eye problems.
- Blurry vision. When caused by stress, blurry vision will probably be mild instead of severe.
- Eye strain. Eye strain may be caused by something simple, like staring at your computer screen too long at work. However, stress can also be a cause.
- Tunnel vision. You may lose some of your peripheral vision and feel like you can only see straight in front of you.
- Sensitivity to light. You may feel like bright light hurts your eyes or makes it difficult to see.
- Eye twitching. Maybe one, or both, of your eyes will randomly spasm.
- Very dry or very wet eyes. While these are opposite symptoms, either one can be induced by stress. It all depends on how your body responds to a difficult situation.
- Fluid buildup. Central serous choroidopathy is a more severe eye condition from stress, which can cause fluid buildup in the retina. This condition can eventually leak into an area beneath the retina called the choroid, affecting the eye, sending sight information to the brain.
Please make it a priority to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor TODAY if you have persistent eye trouble.
What Causes Stress-Related Eye Problems?
When you get anxious, frightened, or stressed, your body’s instinct is to go into what scientists call “fight or flight” mode. Your body will start producing hormones like adrenaline, which speed up your heart rate, and your brain will direct more blood to essential functions like your internal organs and less blood to your extremities.
The reason your body takes these actions is to protect you. When you worry about something, your brain detects a threat, so its response is to gear up for either fighting the potential danger or running away from it.
When you are in fight or flight mode, your eyes can suffer because your brain will cause your pupils to dilate. This response aims to get more light into your eyes so you can see any potential threats more clearly. Additionally, when you are very tense, as many stressed-out people are, the muscles in and around your eyes can tighten, causing twitching and soreness.
How to Take Action and Overcome Stress?
The key to taking the edge off eye conditions from stress is to lower your stress level.
- Sleep at least 8 hours a night
- Taking slow, deep breaths, sending the air into your belly instead of your chest
- Writing in a journal
Once you have found a way to deal with your stress, your eyes should return to normal. These stress-relief actions also benefit your heart by lowering your blood pressure. If you are experiencing eye problems, please call us to schedule an appointment.
Relax, relate, and release the stress to find your happy place! Make lifelong eye health a priority.
References: American Academy of Ophthalmology. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided in this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.