A man whose stress affected his vision

With review and feedback from CEENTA Ophthalmologist Lee Wiley, MD (Pineville, Steele Creek)

One thing most of us can agree on is that 2020 has been a very stressful year. Stress can affect everything, from our general health to our ability to sleep. But did you know it can affect your vision, too?

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s physical, mental, or emotional response to both positive and negative changes in your life. It causes you to release hormones that let your body react to or handle the stressful situation. Too much exposure to these hormones can cause health issues. So, while the human body is designed to react to stress, it can be a problem if it’s constant.

How does stress affect my eyes?

When you’re in a stressful situation, your pupils dilate to take in more light. This is how your body helps you to better perceive any threats around you. However, constantly dilated pupils, plus the long-term effect of stress hormones on your eyes, can lead to vision problems.

What are the symptoms of stress-related vision problems?

Lee Wiley, MD

“The most common stress-related ocular issues that I encounter include eyelid twitching and temporary visual disturbances related to stress-induced headaches and migraines,” CEENTA Ophthalmologist Lee Wiley, MD, said. “Rarely, a patient can experience a ‘conversion disorder’ where they believe they have temporarily lost their vision after a traumatic or stressful event. However, there is no identifiable pathology on exam to explain it. With the increased demands for screen time in the modern workforce, many patients are experiencing eyestrain and dryness on top of their daily stress levels, which can also cause blurring.”

How can I treat these symptoms?

Fortunately, in most cases stress-related vision issues are temporary. If you want to prevent them from recurring, do what you can to relieve stress. This could include anything from exercise to meditation to sleeping more to improving your diet. However, if these issues are persistent, we advise you to see a doctor.

Can CEENTA’s eye doctors help me?

If you are concerned about your vision, schedule an appointment at CEENTA. Our ophthalmologists and optometrists are here to make sure that, whatever other stressors you may have in your life, your eye health isn’t one of them.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with Dr. Wiley? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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