It is common knowledge that stress has serious effects on the body. Some people may experience sleep issues, headaches, digestive issues, and cardiovascular issues, but eye health and vision can also be affected. Issues that are due to the adrenaline hormones and cortisol (the stress hormone) released during times of stress or anxiety, the eyes remain dilated during stressful situations, placing added pressure on the eyes.
While stress is a cause of vision loss, vision loss generates more stress. Stress affects the visual capabilities in different ways, including:
- Dry eye
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Eye twitching
- Dark Circles
Scientific links between stress and vision:
- The stress hormone (cortisol)
- Flight or fight
- Oxygen levels
When the brain perceives an increase in stress levels, it releases cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for initiating your flight-or-fight response. Causing the heart rate and blood pressure to increase. Stress also causes you to breathe faster, shallow breaths lower oxygen levels. Lack of oxygen to the eyes may result in hazy vision, redness, and eye discomfort early. Extreme long-term cases can lead to corneal ulcerations. Diseases of the visual system like optic neuropathy, and glaucoma are side effects that an increase in cortisol can have.
Most stress-related vision problems are temporary if recognized early before severe damage is done, and symptoms will disappear as soon as you begin to relax. The best way to avoid these stress-related vision issues is to learn how to de-stress, some ideas to help combat your stress:
- Deep breathing
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Write in a journal.
- Get adequate sleep.
Taking steps to control the stress you feel now will help avoid problems in the future. Not just to eye health, but overall health.