Stress can affect us physically, emotionally, and mentally, and it can even cause vision problems if not dealt with in a timely manner. While virtually all of us experience stress at some time in our lives, excessive or chronic stress can have serious health consequences, even with our eyes.
In times of stress, our body’s response is to release adrenaline, otherwise known as the “fight or flight” hormone. Adrenaline speeds up the heart and directs the blood flow away from the digestive and reproductive systems and moves it to organs and extremities perceived to be in danger. This can cause the pupils to dilate in an attempt to increase light flow to the eyes so as to easily detect potential threats. Consistent dilation of the pupils can lead to increased light sensitivity.
Stress also causes the body to release another hormone called cortisol or the “stress hormone.” Cortisol is released slowly in the body in reaction to stress and increases the heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and muscle tension. Cortisol can disrupt the supply of blood from the eye to the brain and thus can result in vision problems.
Excessive or constant stress can cause increased sensitivity to light, eye strain, and may even cause permanent damage to the eyes. Recognizing the symptoms of stress related vision impairment can help you learn to deal with the problem.
- Sensitivity to light and movement: light may hurt your eyes or make it difficult for you to concentrate or see clearly
- Eye twitching: eyes can randomly spasm
- Excessively dry or wet eyes: both symptoms can be caused by stress, but there may also be other causes
- Eye strain: discomfort or minor pain with your eyes feeling tight or swollen
- Blurry vision: finding it hard to focus your eyes
- Eye floaters: tiny spots that swim across your field of vision
There are many ways to reduce stress and to mitigate its effects on your body, including your eyes. Treating stress with pharmaceuticals is one way but making a few simple life changes can often provide the relief you may need. Increased levels of exercise, meditation, yoga, spending time outdoors, getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, or just taking a few minutes to relax can all reduce your stress levels. Reducing the amount of screen time every day can also help. and help you to have a more peaceful and productive life.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with no other medical issues, the best option would be to book an appointment with your eyecare professionals.
Since 1903, the Cheyenne Eye Clinic and Surgery Center has provided comprehensive eye care services to improve our patients’ sight and enhance their lives. If you are experiencing any problems with your vision, if you need a routine vision checkup, or if you want more information about us, check out our website or contact us at 307-400-4091.