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Can Stress and Anxiety Affect Your Vision?


Stress and anxiety can have several mental and physiological effects on the human body. It can be both consequence and cause of vision loss and your eyes are no exception to the physical impact of stress and anxiety. Vision anxiety symptoms may affect one or both eyes, they may occur occasionally and be moderate or severe becoming more noticeable when you are fatigued.


Stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response causing the pupils to dilate and those with long-term stress or anxiety may also suffer from eye strain. When we are stressed or anxious, high levels of adrenaline in the body may cause pressure on the eyes. Common stress related eye problems include; sensitivity to light, blurry vision, tunnel vision, eye floaters and eye strain.


Stress and anxiety may also aggravate existing eye conditions like glaucoma and optic neuropathy leading to complete vision loss.


All of the above may affect your vision causing varying degrees of discomfort and increasing intraocular pressure in the eyes. Stress can cause the muscles in the eyes to become tense, constricting the blood vessels and leading to sore eyes and muscle spasms.


Although the effects of stress and anxiety on the eyes are usually short-term, they may have long-term effects if they occur regularly. A few de-stressing techniques could include exercise, meditation, healthy eating and staying well rested.


Feelings of stress and anxiety should be reported to your GP as they are able to recommend the best course of treatment.


Most stress and anxiety induced eye problems can be temporary, but it is important to consult your ophthalmologist or any other medical professional if your symptoms persist.


Author: Samer Hamada is a distinguished consultant ophthalmologist and cornea surgeon performing eye surgeries at his practice, Eye Clinic London. With nearly two decades’ experience, Mr. Hamada is recognised as a leading expert in the field of cataract, refractive lens exchange (RLE) and corneal surgeries.


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