Can stress and anxiety affect your vision?
Stress and anxiety can provoke so many different physical reactions from your body, from elevating your pulse to slowing down your digestion. Your eyes are no exception, although the effects of stress here often get overlooked or misdiagnosed. That’s why today I’m going to take a closer look at what happens to your eyes during a stress reaction, how it impacts your vision and what you can do in the future to avoid these sign.
This means that when you experience stress or anxiety your fight-or-flight reflexes are triggered and this affects a number of different bodily functions. Your heart rate will become elevated, oxygenated blood and nutrients will be redirected to your muscles, heart, and lungs and your digestive system will slow down – in short, all that matters to your body is your immediate survival.
As a consequence, you may experience symptoms such as constipation or diarrhea, or find your skin flaring up due to an enlarge in inflammatory chemicals like cortisol. Your sleep patterns will undergo some upheaval and eventually, your immune function may become weakened. These are the most obvious side effects of a bout of stress and it’s likely you may already associate a few of these with that particular emotion but how does stress impact yours.
Your eyes are no exception to the physical impact of stress. When your body experiences a stress reaction, your pupils will dilate to allow more light to get into your eyes – this improves your vision so you’re better capable to perceive potential threats. This is all well and good if you’re facing down a tiger but it’s not so ideal for your eyes if this turns into a daily occurrence.
If your eyes are constantly dilating it can cause a number of problems to arise, such as:
- Increased light sensitivity
- Eye strain
- Blurred vision
- Watery eyes
- Dry eyes
When it comes to protecting your eyes from the effects of stress, prevention really is better than cure. You can’t possibly hope to protect your eyes without addressing the underlying reason which means that you have to confront and learn to manage troubling emotions such as stress and anxiety.
1 Talk to someone
The old adage of a problem shared is a problem halved really does come to mind here. If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety or find yourself confronted by stress on a daily basis then it really is essential that you talk to someone, whether it’s a colleague, friend or family member.
2 Don’t become sedentary
When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, the chances are you won’t be feeling particularly active. These emotions can definitely drain your energy levels but it’s still essential to stay active. Instead of wilting away indoors, try to get outside to soak up the vitamin D.