Elsabe de Koker Optometrists Blog

entry image

How stress can affect vision

Chances are that you experience stress at some point in your day, however chronic stress can have serious, long-term negative effects on your body and your eyes are no exception.

Stress creates the ‘fight or flight’ reflex that helps us determine how to respond to things that might be threatening. While our bodies have natural reflex that are supposed to protect us from current stressors of work commitments or family life. When we experience a stressful moment, the pupils of our eyes dilate to enhance vision. When we are continually stressed, our pupils stay dilated, which can lead to several problems.

What can happen to your eyes when you are stressed?

  • Eye strain: eye strain is a common side-effect of looking at a computer screen for too long
  • Blurred vision: mild cases of blurred vision
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Eye twitching: you might feel spasms in one or both
  • Light sensitivity: If you find that lights are too bright and your eyes are sore
  • Eye floaters: these are tiny spots across your vision

Stress can impact us all in different ways. One person could feel all these symptoms, while others only some. Whether you experience them or not, the muscles that surround the eyes still become tense, which could lead to sensitive eyes and migraines.

What to do when you are stressed to relieve these symptoms?

If you have noticed any of these symptoms, you can use a few techniques to help reduce your stress levels. Exercising and deep breathing relieves tension by relaxing the body and calming the nervous system, which controls the fight-or-flight response.