Stress is that one factor that has affected 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? During those emotionally difficult times when life feels much too busy or demanding, your eyes can pay the price like the rest of your body does.
Learn what eye symptoms can result from too much stress and what to do about them.
Common Stress-Related Eye Problems
Most stresses caused 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, it can also be caused by stress.
- Sensitivity to light. You may feel like bright light hurts your eyes or makes it difficult for you 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 caused by stress. It all depends on how your body responds to a difficult situation.
Please make sure to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor 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. Your brain detects a threat when you worry about something, so its response is to gear up for either fighting the threat 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. The idea behind this response is 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 go back to normal. These stress-relief actions also provide good benefits for your heart, such as lowering your blood pressure. If you are experiencing eye problems, please contact (Practice Name Here) to schedule an appointment.
Relax, Relate, and Release The Stress…Your Eyes Will Love You For It!
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Can Stress Cause Vision Problems? (September 2018). The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy.
Eye Problems: Vision Anxiety Symptoms. (November 2019). AnxietyCentre.
Mental Stress as Consequence and Cause of Vision Loss: The Dawn of Psychosomatic Ophthalmology for Preventive and Personalized Medicine. (May 2018). European Association for Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine Journal.