Stress can affect not only your digestion, sleep, or mental health but also your eyes. But what about anxiety and eyesight?

Is there a link between anxiety and blurred vision or between anxiety and dry eye disease? Read on to find out more about anxiety vision changes.

We’ll also be discussing ways in which you can manage anxiety to improve eye health. Let’s get started.

Anxiety and Vision Symptoms

Vision problems from anxiety can include blurred vision, dry eye disease, double vision, tunnel vision, and more. Let’s take a closer look at each of these to understand why they occur.

Anxiety and Blurred Vision

When you become anxious, your body releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol that affect breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Your vision becomes sharper as your body is geared to identify threats.

But at the same time, because of the heightened heart rate and blood pressure, you may move faster, which makes it harder for your eyes to focus on things around you. This can make you feel as if your vision is blurry.

blurry driver looking to the side with blurry dashboard and blue sea in the background

Severe anxiety may also increase pressure in the eyes. This can also contribute to blurred vision. What’s more, anxiety increases the risk of dry eye disease, which is associated with blurred vision. However, this tends to occur more often with chronic rather than acute anxiety.

Anxiety may also cause tunnel vision, in which you cannot see objects clearly unless they are close to your central field of view. When you experience tunnel vision, your peripheral vision is unclear or blurred.

Anxiety and Dry Eye Disease

According to the study cited above, people experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression are more likely to have dry eye disease. Dry eyes can make you feel like you have something in your eye that you can’t blink away. It may also cause redness, burning, itchiness, and pain in the eye.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication may cause dry eyes and blurred vision through its effects on the tear glands and tear film. On the other hand, dry eyes may also cause psychological issues such as anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and Double Vision

Double vision or diplopia can make you see double. When you’re anxious, you may be breathing too fast. This is known as hyperventilation and may increase the risk of double vision.

double vision of a woman with long brown hair and full lips

Good to know: Stress has wide-ranging effects on your body and can affect your eyes too. Learn more about the association between stress and eye and vision problems.

Other Anxiety Effects on Eyes

In addition to the anxiety vision changes we’ve already discussed, anxiety can cause a variety of other eye issues.

  • Eye twitching – Stress and anxiety can make one or both eyes spasm. When caused by anxiety, eye twitching typically goes away within minutes or hours.
  • Watery eyes – Pupil dilation in response to stress and anxiety and dry eye disease may both cause excessive tearing.
  • Light sensitivity – When you are experiencing anxiety, bright lights can bother you more than usual.
  • Increased floaters – Seeing some eye floaters now and then is normal, but anxiety may make you notice more floaters than usual.
  • Eye fatigue and headaches – We really see with the brain rather than with the eyes, so it’s no surprise that anxiety can cause headaches.

Good to know: Anxiety vision changes can come and go, affect one eye only, or move from eye to eye. With that said, they are usually temporary, lasting for no longer than an hour.

In the end, remember that anxiety vision changes are temporary. Longer-lasting symptoms can be a sign of chronic problems and require a medical checkup. 

Anxiety and Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease that can progress to vision loss. Understandably, glaucoma can cause anxiety and depression. But findings from a 2021 study suggest that anxiety also increases the risk of glaucoma progression.

For people diagnosed with glaucoma, stress and anxiety management are important and can help keep the condition in check.

How to Manage Vision Problems from Anxiety

The best approach to managing vision problems from anxiety is to prevent anxiety in the first place. This includes managing stress, which is a frequent anxiety trigger. 

Some of the methods below may work better for you than others so try out as many as you can.

silhouette of a man sitting in shadowy field and breathing deeply

  • Breathe deeply – Breathing deeply, in your abdomen rather than your chest, can restore regular breathing patterns and bring a sense of calm.
  • Exercise regularly – Start with half an hour of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week.
  • Meditate – Mindfulness meditation, including mindful walking, is a simple way to bring awareness to your body and become grounded in the present moment.
  • Reduce alcohol, caffeine, and added sugar intake – All these substances have been associated with a higher risk of anxiety.
  • Eat a diet rich in magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics – Foods like leafy greens, avocado, asparagus, cashews, fish, and sauerkraut may help better manage anxiety.

At the same time, it’s important to understand what triggers your anxiety and manage or avoid as much as possible these triggers. Common anxiety triggers include stress, conflict, grief, health issues, sleep deprivation, financial problems, social events, and medications.

Taking an eye health supplement like SightC could also help you better cope with anxiety eye issues. Rich in nutrients from superfoods like goji berries and turmeric, SightC supports the health of your eyes and tear glands in the digital age. It can provide your eyes with nutrients that you may not be getting through your diet.

Good to know: When anxiety kicks in, remember the 3-3-3 rule. Look around you to find 3 objects. Next, listen to 3 sounds, and then move 3 body parts. This simple rule can help you focus and relax.

Calm Mind, Clear Eyes

There is a real link between anxiety and eyesight problems. Anxiety induces body-wide changes, and it can affect your eyes too, causing blurriness and other vision changes.

But there is a lot you can do to prevent anxiety and better manage it when it occurs. At the same time, you can look after your eyes by eating a nutrient-rich diet and taking an eye health supplement.

In the end, a calm mind helps keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Don’t neglect your mental health – often, a good way to prevent anxiety and depression is simply to take it easier. Give yourself enough time to destress, rest, and sleep well.

calm and smiling woman looking at herself in a round mirror resting on the windowsill

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