Can Stress Cause Vision Loss?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 23-Oct-2013

stresssmallThere 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 consistentlyhigh-stress level may also affect your vision.

The Different Ways Stress Negatively Affects Your Body

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

Central serous retinopathy(or choroidopathy) is a 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.

Symptoms include:

  • 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 vision loss.

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 by contacting us, posting on our Facebook page or tweeting at us!

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