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Stress is a natural response when the demands of daily life get the better of us, and if it isn’t managed, it can cause both mental and physical problems. Have you ever experienced eye twitching, difficulty focusing, or even eye pain? If you have, you probably need to rest your eyes, get more sleep, and perhaps even meditate or practice other stress-relief exercises like deep breathing, yoga, or other exercise to help you relax and give your eyes a break. Taking just a few minutes to close your eyes will help you bring down your adrenaline level and calm your entire body. A healthy diet will also help you manage stress and promote healthier eyes. 

If you regularly experience eye strain, discomfort, blurry vision, twitching, or an imbalance in your eye’s natural tearing, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your optometrist. Light sensitivity can also be attributed to stress. And, over time, it can create other issues, from muscle pain to headaches. Like the other symptoms above, light sensitivity may be temporary due to stress, but if you have persistent symptoms, it’s best to get a doctor’s advice.

Did you know that stress can exacerbate vision loss and having an eye condition can cause additional stress? A new study, published in the EPMA Journal — the official publication of the European Association for Predictive, Preventive, and Personalized Medicine — concluded that stress is not only a consequence of vision loss; it may also aggravate existing eye issues. Medical News Today reported that Prof. Bernhard Sabel, director of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Magdeburg University in Germany and primary author of the study, said, “There is clear evidence of a psychosomatic component to vision loss, as stress is an important cause — not just a consequence — of progressive vision loss resulting from diseases such as glaucoma, optic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.”

Fortunately, new research supports that the opposite is also true: reducing stress can help to restore vision. Psychological counseling, meditation, and other stress reduction strategies are proven ways to help restore vision, improve eye health and even prevent eye problems.  

Lastly, if your doctor has an optimistic outlook, you benefit. Patients who have doctors with positive attitudes and prognoses may not only see better, but they will be more positive as well. When a patient better understands that their vision loss due to stress may be temporary, and that they can reverse its course, they will start to look toward the future with hope. 

If you have any questions or concerns about how anxiety or stress is affecting your eyesight, or if the stress-reducing techniques described here don’t alleviate your particular eye problem, please call us to set up an eye exam with an optometrist. Life is too short to worry!