Stress can have many adverse effects on both your physical and mental health. You may already know that stress can cause physical issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, skin conditions, and asthma. It can also lead to issues such as anxiety, depression, irritability, and mood swings.
What you may not realize is that stress can also cause vision problems. Read on to learn more about how stress and eye health are connected.
The Physiology of Stress and Vision
Your body comes programmed with several processes that prepare it to meet threats and stressful situations. When you feel stressed or anxious, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. This can also disrupt the blood flow from your eye to your brain, which can contribute to vision problems and even stress-related macular degeneration.
In stressful times, your body may also trigger your fight-or-flight reflex. This causes the release of adrenaline, which helps prepare your body to fight or flee by dilating your pupils to let in more light. When you are constantly stressed, your adrenaline levels remain higher than they should. This can lead to light sensitivity and the tightening or twitching of your eye muscles, which causes discomfort.
Constant stress may also cause you to take in less oxygen than you need. Lack of oxygen can cause cell damage in your eyes. Stress may also cause inflammation and flare-ups of chronic conditions.
Stress and Eye Health – Common Issues
If you feel constant stress, you may experience these symptoms:
- Eye twitching
- Light sensitivity
- Blurry vision
- Eye strain
- Double vision
- Light flashes
- Tunnel vision
- Extreme eye dryness or wetness
- Increased eye floaters
- Visual distortions
- Dimmed vision
How to Treat Vision Problems Caused by Stress
The good news is, most stress-related vision issues are temporary. They will probably fade when you de-stress. This means taking care of yourself and finding ways to reduce the stress you feel. A few ideas for helping lower your anxiety are:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a balanced, nutritious diet
- Exercise daily
- Practice stress-reduction techniques such as journaling, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing
- Professional counseling
Worried About Your Vision? Contact Valley Eyecare Center
If you have concerns about your eye health or your vision, Valley Eyecare Center is here to help! Contact us online or call us today at (602) 955-2700 to book an appointment.