How Stress Affects Vision

A stressed man in a suit holding his head, feeling overwhelmed by the pressure. Stress Affects Vision Optical Lenses.

Stress is part of life, but when it becomes excessive, it could result in health issues such as vision problems. When a patient is anxious or highly stressed, their body releases high adrenaline levels, which can cause eye pressure, blurred vision, and more eye and vision problems. 

Why Stress Affects Vision

Chronic stress is associated with severe health issues such as vision problems, and there are certain aspects of stress that have very specific impacts on eyesight.

Fight or Flight

When someone experiences anxiety or stress, their body goes into fight or flight mode. This produces adrenaline that causes the heart rate to increase and blood to rush to critical areas, such as internal organs.

During fight or flight mode, the brain stimulates pupils to dilate. Which promotes more light in the eyes to see potential threats. If stress lasts for a prolonged amount of time, constant dilation can result in light sensitivity and eye strain.

As the body experiences these high-stress levels, the body muscles, including those in the eyes, get tighter. This can lead to additional eye issues, such as twitching and soreness.

High Cortisol Levels

Experiencing cyclical stress moments results in increased cortisol levels in the body. This disrupts blood flow in the brain causing muscular degeneration in the eyes. This results in blurred vision and other eye-related problems.

Low Oxygen Levels

When highly stressed, levels of oxygen decrease in the body. This reduced flow of oxygen to the retinas causes damage to eye cells. However, breathing exercises during times of high stress can get oxygen flowing again to prevent certain eye diseases and conditions associated with cell damage.


Stress triggers vision problems in people with autoimmune disorders, for instance, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. Stress leads to increased inflammation in these individuals impacting their eye health. According to Prevent Blindness, every individual should visit an optician for regular check-ups to prevent further eye damage.

How Stress Impacts Vision

Stress has temporary impacts on the eyes. Here are some eye symptoms caused by stress:

  • Tunnel Vision: You lose some peripheral vision causing you to feel as though you can only see things in front of you.
  • Eye Twitching: One or both of your eyes may spasm randomly.
  • Sensitivity to Light: You feel like bright lights make it difficult to see and hurt your eyes.
  • Dry or Wet Eyes: Your body could react to stress by having wet or dry eyes.
  • Blurry Vision: Stressed-related blurred vision is mild.
  • Eye Strain: Stress leaves your eyes tired, as though you’ve been on the computer for long periods.
  • Eye Floaters: These are tiny spots that appear across your eyes.

Stress-related eye problems are not severe, and a patient can live with them, but they should schedule a visit if their symptoms last long or are very uncomfortable.

No matter what brings them in, Allentown Optical has a diverse range of optical services and products, so you can best serve your patients. Contacts us today to explore our services and see how our lab’s optical solutions can benefit your practice.