Stress is an inevitable part of life; however, it is important that you manage it. Stress can cause an increase in cortisol and adrenaline, which can affect your eyes. Stress can cause interruptions to your sleep schedule and disruptions to your digestion. All of this can affect your eyes in various ways including, but not limited to:
- Light Sensitivity: Stress can induce photophobia (light sensitivity). This can make it difficult to see while also feeling like bright lights hurt your eyes. If this persists, contact a general ophthalmologist to ensure an underlying ophthalmic issue isn’t the root of the problem.
- Blurry Vision: Older adults might experience worsened presbyopia (inability to focus on nearby objects) due to stress, making it even more difficult to see objects up close. During bouts of extreme stress, such as a panic attack, you could experience blurry vision due to an imbalance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body.
- Eye Twitches: Stress can cause a harmless reaction wherein one or both of your eyelids twitch. Eyelid twitches will usually go away on their own but can be prolonged by an increase in caffeine combined with poor sleep.
- Elevated Eye Pressure: Stress can cause elevated eye pressure, which isn’t harmful given that the elevation in pressure only occurs for a brief period. However, elongated elevated eye pressure can damage the optic nerve. It’s especially harmful to patients with open-angle glaucoma because there is already an elevated level of pressure in the eye. Contact an ophthalmologist who specializes in glaucoma care and can provide proper treatment.
- Tunnel Vision: Stress can temporarily block your peripheral vision. You might notice you’re experiencing tunnel vision, where you can only see objects directly in front of you. This does not typically last long; however, if it persists, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.
There are countless ways to manage your stress, such as practicing mindfulness, deep breathing, and exercising. Taking care of your health should be a priority. If you or a loved one are experiencing prolonged ocular symptoms like those listed above, contact our office to schedule a consultation.