Could Stress Affect Your Eyes And Cause Blurred Vision?
According to a report, Americans are the most stressed people as half of the population feel stressed and angered a lot in a day. It's no secret that stress can wreak havoc on your health, causing everything from headaches to a weakened immune system.
We all know that stress can have a negative effect on our health, but did you know that it could also affect your eyesight and cause blurred vision?
While temporary, this condition is alarming and leads to further anxiety attacks and stress-related eye problems. Stress causes the progression of vision loss which ultimately leads to permanent vision loss.
Continuous stress is a common cause of eye strain. Your body releases hormones that can constrict the blood vessels in your eyes, causing vision problems. Stress can also cause dry eyes and make it difficult to focus. If you are experiencing stress-related blurred vision, there are some things you can do to help improve your vision changes.
Periods of stress cause a condition called dry eye, which leads to blurred vision and vision loss. A dry eye is caused by a decrease in the production of tears, which is a result of stress.
If you are experiencing dry eye, you may also notice that your eyes feel irritated or tired. If you are under a lot of stress, it is important to see an optometrist, to make sure that your vision is not affected.
Let's get started with how stress and anxiety cause blurred vision.
✅ Symptoms of Blurred Vision
There are many possible symptoms of blurred vision. They may include:
- Seeing double
- Light sensitivity
- Uneven pupil size
- Floaters or spots in your vision, tunnel vision
- Wavy or fuzzy lines in your vision
- Cloudy vision
- Temporary blindness
These are just some of the potential symptoms of stress-related vision problems. Blurred vision can be a sign of a serious underlying condition and should not be ignored.
✅ What Are the Causes of Blurry Vision? How Does It Affect Your Eyes?
Common causes of blurred vision can range from temporary and harmless to more serious conditions which are:
- Refractive errors, where the eye does not focus light properly.
- Astigmatism, where the cornea is curved irregularly.
- Presbyopia is when the natural lens of the eye becomes less flexible with age.
- Dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.
- The drugs used in treating PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) also affect vision and lead to increased intraocular pressure, blurred vision, diplopia, eye pain, loss of vision, double vision, abnormal vision, etc. These drugs include valium, prozac, MAOIs, SSRIs etc.
Most often, blurry vision issues can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. While some amount of stress is inevitable, it is important to find healthy ways to manage it in order to protect your vision. If you are experiencing any symptoms of eye disease, be sure to see an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive exam.
✅ List of Eye Diseases - Effects of Stress
There are a number of eye diseases that can be caused or exacerbated by stress.
- Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears. It leads to inflammation and damage to the cornea which can lead to vision loss.
- Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that can cause redness, itching, and burning. It can also lead to crusting of the eyelashes and loss of eyelash hair.
- Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye. It causes pain, redness, and sudden blurred vision.
- Eyestrain is a common condition that can be caused by staring at screens for long periods of time or doing other activities that require intense focus. Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and blurry vision.
- Glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to blindness if it is not treated. It occurs when the pressure inside the eye becomes too high.
- According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, stress can contribute to the development of several different types of eye diseases. Age-related macular degeneration is a deterioration of the central portion of the retina.
- Eye floaters: Stress can cause your eyeballs to tense up, which can lead to the formation of small spots in your vision called "eye floaters."
- Migraines: Stress can affect and trigger migraines, which cause severe pain and even temporary blindness.
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✅ Why does Stress Cause Blurred Vision?
According to a study, when you're stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is designed to help you deal with short-term stressors by giving you a burst of energy. However, if you're constantly stressed, your body can't keep up with the demand for cortisol and starts to break down.
Cortisol affects the part of your brain's limbic region and vision system that controls how you process visual information. it is present in blood vessels and causes their dysregulation. Hence, the oxygen supply to tissues is depleted with causes blurred vision symptoms.
Anxiety can affect cortisol production, when cortisol levels are high, it's harder for your brain to process what you're seeing. This can lead to blurred vision and trouble focusing on objects.
Elevated cortisol levels negatively impact the muscles in your eyes. When you're stressed, your eye muscles tense up, which can make it difficult to focus on objects. This can also lead to headaches and eye pain.
Another mechanism in response to stress is the production of glucocorticoids, however, the overproduction of it leads to toxicity to retinal tissues.
✅ How Stress and Anxiety are the Causes for Blurred Vision?
It's not just your imagination - stress and anxiety disorders cause blurred vision. According to a study, when you're stressed, your body goes into "fight or flight response" mode, i.e your sympathetic nervous system activates which can cause a number of physical symptoms, including an increase in heart rate and high blood pressure. It lead to a condition called hypertension, which can damage the blood vessels and endothelial cells in the eyes
Moreover, high levels of adrenaline and endothelin in the body cause eye twitching, and blurred vision may occur. It also causes your pupils to dilate. This swelling can then distort your vision.
In addition to physical symptoms, the impact of stress and anxiety may cause psychological symptoms that can affect your vision. For example, if you're constantly worrying and feeling stressed about things going wrong, you may start to see problems that aren't really there. This is because your brain is interpretting the world around you based on your level of anxiety.
Another study shows that elevated levels of stress increase IL-6 (interleukin 6) and TNFα (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) levels in the body which are representatives in glaucoma patients. These pro-inflammatory mediators can be brought back to normal level by meditation and mindfulness activities.
✅ How to Treat Blurred Vision?
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If you experience anxiety and blurred vision, it is important to see your eye doctor for an eye exam right away as this could be a sign of an underlying health condition. However, there are also some home remedies that can help to improve your vision caused by stress. For example, you can try:
- Exercising your eyes improve blood circulation and strengthen the muscles around your eyes.
- Wearing sunglasses will help to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and reduce glare.
- Eating a healthy diet and foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals can help to improve your overall eye health.
- Relax your eyes by massaging them gently with your fingers. It's the best way of vision therapy against stress response.
- Try using eye drops to lubricate your eyes and help relieve any tension. If your blurred vision is caused by dry eyes, you may need to use artificial tears more often.
- Take breaks throughout the day to rest your eyes. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
It's not uncommon for stress to manifest itself in physical symptoms - one of which is blurry vision. While it may seem like a minor issue, if left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems.
There are various treatments available for serious eye condition to reduce severe stress levels and symptoms of vision loss.
📍Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) involves trauma-focused therapy that helps you identify and change the thought patterns that are causing your stress and resulting in physical symptoms like blurry vision.
📍Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) uses eye movements to help process and release the emotions that are trapped in your body, including the stress that is causing your blurry vision.
📍Use pharmacological treatments, such as eye drops or glasses. These can help to improve your vision and make your symptoms less bothersome. However, they will not address the underlying cause of your stress levels.
📍Try meditation or relaxation techniques to reduce the overall level of stress in your life, which may help stress relief to reduce or eliminate your symptoms of blurry vision.
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📍Neurotherapy is a type of therapy that uses electrical stimulation to help the brain function more effectively. This therapy can help to improve focus and concentration, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
There is still more research needed to determine the effectiveness of neurotherapy for treating blurry vision caused by stress. However, many people who have tried this therapy have reported positive results. If you are struggling with stress-related blurry vision, neurotherapy may be worth considering.
✅ Bottom Line
Stress can cause vision problems and may also cause blurry vision. If you are experiencing any sort of chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels, it is important to seek help from a professional in order to avoid any long-term damage. Remember to take breaks often, relax your eyes, and keep your stress, anxiety, and depression levels in check!
By Fiza Ali