Does stress affect your eyes?

To say these are stressful times is an understatement. Perhaps you’re home with your children trying to keep their education going in the absence of school. Maybe you’re in self-isolation or are feeling disconnected from friends and family as social distancing continues. With stress levels being so high, you might be wondering – does stress affect your eyes?

The short answer is yes, but there is something you can do about it. This April, Stress Awareness Month, we thought we’d share some ways to relieve stress so that your eyes and your body can stay healthy. First, let’s look at how stress affects your eyes.

Stressed out vision

Stress stimulates an instinctual ‘fight or flight’ response, part of which is the dilation of your pupils. When you feel continually stressed, your pupils can stay dilated. This lets in more light and that can lead to eye strain and sensitivity to light. Eye twitching and stress are also linked as the muscles around your eyes tighten when you’re stressed.

Other common symptoms include blurry vision, excessively dry or watery eyes and eye floaters. Stress is known to increase the presence of tiny spots that ‘float’ across your field of vision, hence the name, floaters. A sudden increase in floaters is considered an eye emergency. We are still open for emergency eye care, so if you experience this symptom, please do get in touch with us at our Kendal branch.

Ways to relieve stress

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, consider them early warning signs that you may be stressed. Take a moment to consider what you find relaxing. For some, meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises can help. For others, something more active like going for a run or working out is more effective.

Other stress-relieving activities include ‘stream of consciousness’ writing, where you write whatever pops into your head until you fill a page or taking a long bath or walk and focusing specifically on the sensations to help clear your mind of other thoughts.

We’re here to help

Bagot Opticians, your opticians in Kendal, Penrith and surrounding areas, is here to help you get through the lockdown with healthy vision. We can offer advice over the phone and provide emergency eye care. In either case, please call our Kendal practice and we’ll let you know whether you need to come in or can manage your symptoms at home.