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Can Stress Lead to Vision Loss?

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Stress, in general, is not something that one should take at all – let alone high levels of it on a regular basis, which is highly discouraged. There are numerous studies to back up the possible consequences of living a stressful lifestyle and doing nothing to alleviate the symptoms.

Recent studies have proven that stress has a direct correlation with loss of vision. There are a number of stressors that are linked to the loss of sight. For instance, the hormone cortisol. Our bodies gradually release this stress hormone when we are experiencing an illness or emotionally stressful situations.

It results in a high level of heartbeat, respiration, and palpitations. Dangerous levels of cortisol can cause serious vision problems ranging from disruption of blood flow to macular degeneration.

Moreover, stress can release excess levels of adrenaline, which results in an abnormal heart rate and production of cortisol. This situation causes abnormal dilation of pupils that eventually leads to sensitivity to light. A number of stress-related problems trigger the three most common eye conditions in individuals.

Eye Strain and Dry Eyes

The extensive use of technology and our rapidly changing lifestyles have made this condition fairly common among individuals. Strain in our eyes can occur from living a stressful lifestyle as well as overstraining our eyes because of computer/mobile/TV screens.

Moreover, our eyes can dry up from consistently carrying on a certain activity for long durations, for example, playing video games, driving for hours, etc. Fortunately, such symptoms are usually temporary and subside when the individual takes sufficient rest.


Eye twitching is the most common condition that surfaces when one experiences stress. At times, these spasms can subside within hours and once in a while, they have the tendency to last for days. Eye twitching usually occurs in the lower eyelids, but it can also take place in the complete eye or just the upper lids.

Generally, twitching caused by stress is considered to be harmless and usually subsides after a few days. However, it is highly recommended that if the condition does not alleviate, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Central Serous Choroidopathy

One of the most severe eye conditions that are caused by stress is central serous choroidopathy. This disease causes fluid to accumulate in the retina, which eventually results in leakage from the choroid. Research shows that this condition adversely affects the part of the eye that’s responsible for communicating with the brain.

Numerous scientific studies have associated this disease with people experiencing high levels of stress. They are usually individuals that have type-A personalities, and men with ages from 20-50. Fortunately, some cases tend to clear up after a couple of months without causing any damage; however, some serious cases can lead to permanent vision loss.

Even though different doctors have a different opinion about levels of severity between stress and vision loss, yet none of them will deny the connection completely. Some say that stress is a contributing cause in alleviating severe eye conditions, while others will say that stress leads to loss of sight; nonetheless, continuous therapies are suggested to cope with stress levels and maintain healthy vision.

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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