Anxiety Causes Eye Problems, Here Is What To Do

Anxiety works in some rather odd ways.
It causes you to experience physical symptoms, such as nausea, tinnitus, and even some general muscle weakness. Anxiety causes eye problems too, but we will get to these later.

It also causes different mental issues, but those make a lot more sense upon the first inspection.
Anxiety is an obsessive sense of dread, so certain mental symptoms may not be too surprising when you really think about it.

Having troubles sleeping, for example, is one such symptom.
Sleeping disorders are very common in people who suffer from anxiety because of that obsession.

Seriously, how are you supposed to relax and fall asleep if all you can do is think about whatever it is that you are worried about?

So what’s up with eyesight?
It really doesn’t sound like it has much to do with anything aside from having blurry vision after a panic attack. When I first encountered a claim along these lines my eyes widened in surprise (pun fully intended).

How can my anxiety, nerves by extension, directly affect my eyesight of all things?
I decided that further investigation was needed.

As it turns out, research suggests the same thing.
A study on the matter showed a direct relation between the two, with eyesight difficulties increasing alongside the severity of their anxiety and depression.

As a learner in my heart, this relation seemed to be odd to me if nothing else.
I personally don’t recall encountering any particular problems when it came down to my sight.

Then again, I already have a few problems seeing as-is, so maybe my condition got worse over time without me noticing a thing.

What are the symptoms?

As I discovered, such issues aren’t very common to begin with, I for one didn’t experience them at all.
Then again, to each their own.

Anxiety has so many symptoms that going through all of them is quite an achievement.

Vision problems are temporary in most cases, although they can rarely develop into long-term problems. In such a case I would advise you to visit an optometrist (eye doctor).
Such symptoms include, but are not limited to

  • Muscle tension around the face area
  • Increased rate of blinking
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurriness of sight
  • Spotty vision
  • sensitivity to light

These are some symptoms for eye strain issues, which are a whole other problem.
One that is caused by anxiety. I’m talking about a medical condition that causes another medical condition.


It goes deeper than what you may think

When I say “eyesight problems” I don’t only mean trouble seeing, it’s more than that.
I didn’t realize that other symptoms of anxiety may originate from anxiety-made eye problems.
Here’s a quick thought for you – how many things does it take to affect our eyesight?
Don’t get it? Allow me to elaborate a bit.

As some of you may know, the “fight, flight or freeze” system is activated whenever you are feeling anxious to various levels.

Back in the dawn of humanity, this mechanism served us well in our constant attempts to survive to see another day. These days it’s honestly nothing more than an annoyance.

Well, not really.
But we are better off without it in most scenarios, it tends to get in the way.
One thing that this system does is make our pupils dilate.
Why? Because when we are faced with a dangerous situation our body reaches out to grasp for more light.

It does so in order to make everything around us clearer and to help us in the dark.

And that’s perfectly normal, your body reacts in a very similar way to changes in light or strong emotions.

No, the real problem is how anxiety forces your-your pupils to dilate time and time again.
Since anxiety is both recurring and systematic (growing) in nature, so are the symptoms.

In other words, it leaves you for short periods of time only to come back worse.
Sucks, doesn’t it?

Between your anxiety and day-to-day activities, some of which also make your pupils dilate, you might start developing long term eye-strain problems.

But the good news just keeps coming, my friend -There’s more to it than that.
When feeling anxious and going into “fight, flight or freeze” mode, your body tends to push blood into the most “important” parts for your “survival”.

It’s kind of stupid if you think about it.
What’s the point in such an extreme response to social interactions for example?

To handle that large amount of blood, some blood vessels in your face expand and a few muscles around that area tense to preserve it.

Normally the brain can handle it just fine, but the fact that these issues are recurring is the real problem.
Sure, the brain can handle being embarrassed or angry (same physical symptoms), but it doesn’t handle it well over time.

Just like I said before, anxiety is both growing and systematic.
Your body simply can’t handle being forced into such a state repeatedly, it’s not something that was meant to be (hence, which is why it’s an illness, to begin with).

The delicate areas around the eyes, in particular, suffer from these issues, and pain is not an uncommon reaction.

Another common factor for eye problems would by Hyperventilation (over-breathing).
There’s not much to talk about since the name pretty much speaks for itself: Irregular breathing may cause eye problems over time as a symptom (anxiety leads to over breathing leading to eye strains.)

It can cause other conditions as well

Let me be frank with you, I am no optometrist even by the loosest definition of the term.
That being said, I do know that the eyes are related to a bunch of other issues.

Why? Because they are a key to our perception of the world around us.

Not only that, but different symptoms of anxiety may cause these eyesight problems.
Some of you may wonder what does it have to do with anything, or what am I talking about, so here are a few quick examples:

  • Migraines may be caused by anxiety and stress. These migraines can cause eye problems over time due to irregular blood flow.
  • Dizziness can be normally caused by eye strains, irregular blood flow and muscle tension.
    Yeah, an all in one package so to speak.

What should you do?

For one thing, you should come to the heck down.
Most of the strain on the eye, as well as related problems, goes away alongside your anxiety and only rarely leaves any long-lasting damages.

The key solution when dealing with these issues is simply to overcome your anxiety.
Well, I say “simply” but that may leave the wrong idea. True, it’s “simple” to overcome your anxiety, but it’s anything but easy.

In the meanwhile do yourself a favor and avoid damaging factors while overcoming your problems. Most tips I can give are related to simply stopping your panic attacks, but there are a few more I can speak of:

  • Avoid reading or watching TV, these activities strain your eyes
  • Don’t drive. Not only aren’t you in top condition, something which makes driving dangerous, but it also strains your eyes
  • Breathe slowly and regularly. If your issues are caused by Hyperventilation then this is the best tip I can offer No meditation required either
  • You could meditate, though, if you do it right it can do wonders to your condition
  • Go to a dark room, it would be best if you avoided light. While closing your eyes might also work, it’s less reliable
  • Look for a distraction. No matter how much your condition sucks, having something to help you out with it will do wonders to you. Anxiety is an obsession-based condition, if you fight off the obsession then the battle is as good as won
  • Consider taking a walk around or doing some light stretches – it will get the blood flowing to other areas of your body

Eye pain

It’s easy to get stressed out over this, but you really shouldn’t.

Look, I get it, I really do.
You live mostly through what you can see, so having your sight damaged for whatever reason is a frightening thought, to say the least.

That being said, you really don’t have anything to get worried over. These symptoms and strains on your eyes are caused purely by your current condition and have almost no lasting effects in nearly all cases.

Now if you truly do suffer from anxiety, by this point you will start worrying that you belong to that minor statistic.
In which case, I will tell you to get your life together, since there’s nothing you can do about the extremely unlikely.
As long as you work out your anxiety these problems will go away as well.

Heck, you got this entire website to help you do just that naturally, so there’s nothing that you should worry about (pun fully intended, once more).

Before you go, here’s a quick question – Did you ever experience an eye-related symptom due to your anxiety disorder?

Make sure to write down your answer in the comment section below, I read through every single one of them!

If you got any personal questions you would like to ask me then make sure to drop an email.
I guarantee an answer as soon as I can.

Email: [email protected]

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4 Replies to “Anxiety Causes Eye Problems, Here Is What To Do”

  1. Great article on eye problems that have to do with anxiety, I didn’t know that my anxiety may be causing my eyes to get irritated. I’ve had trouble sleeping at nights because my eyes feel like pin cushions and my vision is blurred when opened. I’ve also had these symptoms when driving for of which I have to stop and pull over. Is it mostly anxiety and I just have to calm down?

    1. Hello Nathan!

      Yeah, most people don’t know about this stuff – unless they actually go through experiencing it!

      I don’t pretend to be an expert, but they may be related. In any case I would advice you to discuss the issue with an expert.

      Cheers, Vlad!

  2. I just sent this article to my daughter who has been experiencing vision and depression anxiety problems since about grade 4. I also had to get glasses after a major depression in my teens. This was an amazing article. I’m so glad someone has made the connection between them all.

    1. Thanks!


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