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How Stress Can Affect Your Eyesight


1st November is International Stress Awareness Day - with over 40% of Brits experiencing long term stress related symptoms, it’s a common problem, but have you ever considered how stress may be affecting your eyesight?


What is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action.


How can you help treat the symptoms of stress?

There are lots of ways to cope with stress and the issues caused by it, from vitamins and supplements that help relieve the symptoms of stress, to regular exercise and a better diet.


How can stress affect your eyesight?

Experiencing an eyelid twitch (known as myokymia) is a very common response to stress. Those experiencing myokymia will notice that the muscle in the eyelid will spasm spontaneously throughout the day. This spontaneous eyelid muscle spasm can linger for hours or days.

In addition, migrane headaches can be caused by stress and this form of headache in turn can cause blurred vision and light sensitivity. The visual disturbances of migraine generally last less than an hour, more commonly 10 – 30 minutes, however in some cases only a matter of minutes. Migraine related visual symptoms are usually seen in both eyes, however this can be hard to determine when viewing with both eyes open as the symptoms can affect only one side of the visual field. The symptoms of blurred vision or light sensitivity could also be due to general eyestrain, which could be originating from either only one eye, or both eyes together.


Should I be concerned?

Symptoms caused by anxiety are triggered by the stress response. When the body has relaxed and recovered, the symptoms will usually subside.

However, it is important to seek advice from your local Optometrist if you notice any sudden changes to your vision.


Is there anything I can do?

You can speed up the recovery process by reducing your stress, practicing relaxed breathing, increasing your rest and relaxation, and not worrying about this feeling. Sure, it can be unsettling and even bothersome. But again, when your body has recovered from the stress response and/or sustained stress, this symptom will completely disappear.

#INSAD2017 and #internationalstressawarenessday