How stress can impact eye sight

How stress can affect eyesightWhen the body experiences a surge in stress or anxiety, it sparks an instinct that is defined as ‘fight or flight mode’. 

A production of hormones that is likened to adrenaline causes the heart rate to increase which in turn, encourages the brain to direct more blood to your major organs.  Such an instinct derives from when humans were in great physical danger whilst living in hazardous conditions hundreds of years ago.  However, in the 21st century the external factors that lead to stress have dramatically altered and we can experience high levels of stress on a day to day basis.  This can also impact our sleeping patterns.

Stress and lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on the eyes.  Although the effects may not be permanent, they can be incredibly painful and unpleasant.  PureOptical presents how everyday life can affect the eyes with the need to knows of how to ensure that you keep them healthy.

The eyes becoming unusually sensitive to light can indicate that the body is facing high levels of stress. Originating from the body’s ‘Fight or Flight’ defence mechanism, the pupils dilate as a result of amplified hormone levels.  The dilation was previously designed to allow extra light into the eyes so that we can identify possible threats fast.  However, nowadays if you are stressed for an ongoing period of time the additional light can lead to the eyes straining for hours and becoming uncomfortably susceptible to bright lights.

It is not uncommon for high levels of stress to impact our sleep.  Not only does a lack of sleep effect our functionality, it can also affect our eyes.  Studies have found that the eyes require at least 5 hours of sleep in order to function to their full potential.   The neurological effects of a sleepless night can result in blurred vision.  In extreme cases, little sleep can cause the blood vessels in the eye to burst due to a person straining the eye.

Myokymia is the name given to the involuntary twitching of the eye which is often caused by a lack of sleep.  Some eye twitching can last a matter of seconds whereas others can be up to several hours.  Temporary twitching of the eye is often nothing serious and the simplest way to solve it is to gain adequate sleep and stay away from caffeine.

Your eyes are constantly lubricated in order avoid eye infections and encourage moisture.  When you are stressed, the eyes can become incredibly dry or very watery.

Stress has been linked to Central Serous Choroidopathy.  Essentially, the condition causes fluid to build up in the retina which can then leak into the choroid.  This can affect the part of the eye that sends sight to the brain.  Although no one knows what causes Central Serous Choroidopathy, studies have shown stress can play an instrumental factor in the condition.  In severe cases, laser must be used however, many cases clear up on their own.

In order to ensure that you have healthy eyes, Pure Optical says–

  • A diet that includes foods that are high in Omega 3 is great for your eye health. Dark greens such as kale and spinach provides essential nutrients to the body, including the eyes
  • The average person spends most of their day using screens and as much as we can attempt to monitor screen time, prolonged periods are inevitable. Ensure that you have enough periods away from the screen to rest the eyes and refocus
  • Wearing sunglasses is essential. Do not expose your eyes to sunlight unless they are protected.  Sunlight can severely strain the eyes which can have a long-term impact

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