There are numerous potentially harmful health effects of having too much
stress. High blood pressure, depression and heart disease are a few health
consequences of a high stress level. Surprisingly, living with a consistently
high stress level may also affect your vision.
Stress can affect vision in several ways. One of the most common (and potentially
serious) vision problems related to stress is central serous retinopathy.
Migraines and eyelid twitching can also be caused by stress and affect vision.
Central serous retinopathy (or choroidopathy) isa disease that causes fluid to build up in the retina.
As fluid builds up, it will begin to lead from the blood vessels under
the retina, a part of the eye called the choroid.
The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but stress is believed to
be one of the risk factors of the disease. Studies have found that people
with “type A” personalities who are under a great deal of
stress are more likely to develop the condition. It is also more common
in men ages 20 to 50.
- A dim, blurred spot in the center of vision.
- Distorted lines
- Objects appearing smaller or farther away
Central serous retinopathy can be detected through an
eye exam and dilation of the eyes. Most cases of central serous retinopathy will
clear up on their on without treatment in a few months, however patients
with severe leakage and vision loss may undergo laser treatment or photodynamic
therapy to seal the leaky blood vessels. Most patients will recover with
good vision, though their vision may not be as clear as it was before
the condition developed. About half of patients with this condition will
experience a recurrence, but rarely do patients experience permanent central
Though there appears to be a relationship between central serous retinopathy
and stress, so far there is no evidence that a reduction in stress will
result in prevention or treatment of central serous retinopathy.
There is also evidence that stress may be a trigger for migraine headaches.
There are many symptoms of a migraine; blurred vision or sensitivity to
light are two common symptoms.
Myokymia (eyelid twitch)
Another condition thought to be related to stress is eyelid twitching,
or myokymia. Twitching often occurs in the lower eyelid and may last for
a few days with intermittent spasms during the day. Some last a few seconds,
while the twitching can last for hours at a time.
Lowering your stress level is good for your overall health, but it is also
good for your vision and may help prevent these vision problems. To lower
keep your stress level in check, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep
and make a point to take time to relax each day. Health consequences of
stress are potentially fatal. Is all the stress really worth it?
How do you currently handle stress in your daily life? Let us know in the
comments below, post on our Facebook page or tweet at us!