Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Can Anxiety Cause Blurred Vision

Can Anxiety Attacks Last For Days

How Anxiety Causes BLURRY VISION (And How To Fix It)

Anxiety attacks typically last no more than 30 minutes, with the symptoms reaching their most intense at about halfway through the attack. Anxiety can build up for hours or even days before the actual attack so it is important to take note of factors that contribute to anxiety to effectively prevent or treat them.

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Variations Of Light Levels

In some cases certain kinds of light appear more problematic. Fluorescent lights can be a challenge, especially banks of them such as in shops. Other people may find halogen lights, again often when used in shops for display purposes, a problem.

Some people with anxiety find that wearing tinted lenses or sunglasses reduces sensitivity along with their anxiety and helps to stop headaches. Some people who wear prescription lenses have permanent tints or use the type that react to light. For one thing it means they have fewer problems moving between environments where there are strong variations in light levels.

I got quite used to seeing people arrive in all weathers wearing sunglasses. However, it wasn’t always the case that these were being worn to prevent headaches due to light sensitivity. Some people wore them in social situations because that’s where they felt most uncomfortable. In such situations the dark lenses acted as a kind of social barrier.

Wearing dark lenses isn’t really the solution to the problem, although for some people they clearly seem to have a place. The lenses are being used due to high arousal, so the emphasis should still be on trying to find ways to reduce this state of arousal.

Can Anxiety Raise Eye Pressure

If your anxiety disorder is accompanied by severe insomnia, repetitive eye strain, or dry eyes, you may experience increased eye pressure, also called glaucoma.3 Anxiety may also worsen existing glaucoma.4

Symptoms of glaucoma include:

  • Stress, suffering, pain, and mental exhaustion
  • Suppression of tears

These are signs of bodily or emotional stress. Modern medicine agrees with Susrutas literature. According to eye experts, stress can affect your vision through visual distortions or even vision loss .

When youre stressed, your body produces high levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which potentially cause an increase in eye pressure and blurry vision. People with chronic stress may experience regular eye strain accompanied by headaches.

Fortunately, most stress-related vision problems are mild and temporary and will disappear once your stress eases.

A serious eye condition caused by stress is Central Serous Chorioretinopathy . Its characterized by fluid accumulation under the retina.7 The retina is the light-sensitive part of the eye that receives light signals and sends them to the brain for interpretation.

CSCR damages the retinal pigment epithelium , a layer involved in the renewal of visual cells. This can lead to blindness.


1 like, 33 replies

  • Posted 7 years ago

    Yes this is normal for me, I either get blurred eyes, or very very focused eyes to where I notice everything.

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    Can Stress Cause Blurry Vision

    We have all felt the stress of a looming deadline or exam in the future. Stress is often something that we try to avoid in our lives because of how it can affect us physically. But did you know stress can also affect your vision?

    Healthy vision always starts with a routine eye exam. Your optometrist can address any unexpected or sudden stress-related vision problems and diagnose the cause of your vision changes.

    Lets look at some vision changes, blurred vision in particular, and how its related to stress.

    Visual Problems Associated With Anxiety

    Anxiety and Nausea? Could Be Your Eyes

    If you experience any of these visual problems during your anxiety attacks, you are not alone. Many people experience visual problems when they suffer from profound anxiety.

    • Light Sensitivity – Light sensitivity can be caused by anxiety due to a temporary dilation, or enlargement, of the pupil. Pupil dilation occurs when the body believes it has a reason to be afraid, as part of its fight or flight response. This is one reason why scary movies often use special effects to give scary creatures or people eyes that are black, or all pupil: it triggers a fear response in us. When your pupils dilate, they let more light in, improving your vision and helping you catch little visual details that may be useful to you in evading or combating the trigger.

    WHAT TO DO: A short term fix for light sensitivity are sunglasses, and some eye drops that are designed to decrease light sensitivity in the short term. However, it may be easier just to wait until the symptom passes, as lying down in a dimly lit room will both be easy on your eyes and may help you to relax.

    WHAT TO DO: Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while experiencing this symptom, as it is similar to a symptom of drunkenness and keeps you from getting all the visual information you need to operate safely.

    WHAT TO DO: The only way to really cure tunnel vision is to relax. Don’t try to fight the problem, and try not to panic about it: it is, after all, a temporary problem, and will fade after a few minutes.

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    Wendy Received Three Different Diagnosis

    Shes no quitter. When one doctor didnt work, she sought another.

    And another. And another.

    From three doctors, she was diagnosed with:

    • Ménières disease
    • Low blood pressure
    • The third doctor said her vertigo was caused by the medications she took for Ménières disease and low blood pressure.

    Of course, these well-meaning professionals had no solutions.

    And the medications she was prescribed only made the problem worse.

    Does Blurred Vision From Anxiety Go Away

    Fortunately, blurred vision from anxiety does go away. In fact, blurred vision from anxiety is considered to be temporary and is not serious or harmful.

    These signs and symptoms tend to go away as the reduction in stress and anxiety subsides. However, it is still highly recommended to consult with a specialist to ensure there is no other medical cause involved in these episodes.

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    Can Anxiety And Stress Cause Blurred Vision

    According to the National Alliance for Mental Health, 19% of adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. Thats a whole lot of anxiety! That doesnt even consider those who have a small bout of panic here and there. But, can anxiety and/or stress cause blurred vision?

    If you are a parent, like myself, its almost a given stress will get the best of you occasionally..or more than occasionally.

    Do you ever suddenly find yourself having blurry vision during times of stress or anxiety? I know this can be concerning.from personal experience. I call it walking around in my cloud of anxiousness. Seriously, it can be so strange.like being in a dream.

    So.is that blur caused by anxiety and stress? The short answer is that it COULD be.

    Let me explain:

    • Stress and panic trigger the flight or fight response. Pressure builds on the eyes resulting in many eye issues including blurred vision.
    • Extreme stress and anxiety can make you feel dizzy resulting in blurry vision.

    Before you conclude that your blurred vision is caused by anxiety and/or stress, there is other information that is important to know. So..lets jump right in!

    Ways To Ease Your Stress


    Since stress is practically a given in our lives, learning how to reduce its effects on our bodies, minds and our eyes is paramount.

    Some of the most basic steps to reduce stress are simple and cost little or nothing.

    Exercising, getting a full eight hours of sleep at night, eating a healthy diet, spending more time outdoors and meditation are great ways to relieve stress, Horn advises.

    Other approaches like deep breathing exercises, stress management training, talk therapy and meditation are recommended to slow the progression of vision loss.

    If these approaches dont work and stress-related vision symptoms persist, see your eye doctor for immediate attention. Detecting and treating problems early can help maintain good vision for the rest of your life, Horn says.

    Page published on Thursday, September 26, 2019

    Schedule an exam

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    Relationship Between Blurred Vision And Anxiety

    During an anxiety episode, various disorders occur that can lead to blurred vision. Let’s know why this close relationship between blurred vision and anxiety:

    • Anxiety can raise blood glucose levels and affect the circulation and chemical production of the brain. All this can cause temporary blurred vision, that is, it disappears when the crisis is over.
    • When you have anxiety, adrenaline production is increased. This neurotransmitter causes the pupils dilate and it stimulates a greater entrance of light in the ocular structure. Also, it causes focus problems that can cause blurred vision.
    • An anxiety crisis supposes a great waste of energy for the human being. When the crisis ends, exhaustion may be accompanied by blurred vision.
    • Anxiety can also cause other visual problems like double vision o ocular pain caused by excess muscle tension.

    How Stress And Anxiety Can Affect Your Eyes

    When youre feeling extremely anxious, stressed, or having a panic attack, your body produces adrenaline as part of your fight or flight response, preparing you to either fight the danger in front of you, or run away from it. This puts pressure on your eyes, which can cause tunnel vision, floaters, flashes of light, and possibly blurred vision . Your eyes may also become sensitive to light, feel strained, start twitching, or become extremely dry or wet.2 Finally, severe anxiety can make you feel dizzy, which may make you feel like your vision has become blurred.

    In the long term, when extreme stress and anxiety happens frequently, your bodys heightened cortisol levels can cause glaucoma and optic neuropathy, which can lead to blindness.3

    Our bodies are complicated, which can make it difficult to find the cause of a symptom, including sudden blurred vision. If youre prone to extreme anxiety, and are experiencing common symptoms of anxiety such as an elevated heart rate, sweating, and not being able to concentrate, your blurry vision may be caused by your anxiety. But this is a big may. Its important to know that sudden blurred vision can be caused by other issues, and isnt necessarily a result of severe anxiety. Here are some other common causes.

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    Causes Of Blurry Vision

    Blurry vision may happen at any moment when you suffer from anxiety, but they’re most common during periods of intense anxiety brought on by panic attacks/anxiety attacks or a response to a specific anxiety producing event .

    There are two distinct issues that cause vision problems from anxiety. These are:

    • Hyperventilation

    Pupil dilation is a direct response of an overactive fight or flight system. When you have anxiety especially an anxiety attack your body reacts as though it is about to experience something profoundly dangerous . That triggers your nervous system to react by releasing adrenaline, which triggers several physiological changes including a faster heartbeat, blood that rushes to the muscles, sweating to cool you down, and more.

    One of these reactions is to dilate your pupils. The evolutionary goal of this is to help bring in more light so that you can successfully fight or flee with better vision. But more light doesn’t necessarily make vision easier, so some type of blurred or problematic vision may result.

    Another common cause of blurred vision is hyperventilation. Many people with anxiety especially those that have anxiety attacks find that they hyperventilate often, because their breathing has essentially changed in a way that causes breaths that are too fast. This causes you to breathe in too much air and breathe out too much carbon dioxide, and when your body is thrown off balance blurry vision is often the result.

    When To Book An Oct Scan

    Caffeine Withdrawal &  Blurred Vision

    If you are experiencing blurry vision in times of stress, its important to see your optometrist, who may decide to book an OCT scan for you based on your symptoms and history.

    Central serous retinopathy typically improves in 4-6 months without treatment6. However, if the condition is longstanding or episodes of CSR keep recurring, it can lead to permanent visual changes which is why you should never ignore symptoms such as blurry vision and stress.5

    Learn more about the testing and diagnosis of various conditions on our or book an appointment with an optometrist if you notice any symptoms.

    Alternatively, if youre unsure about your symptoms or would like some more information before booking, you can use our RemoteCare service for a free consultation via phone or video call.


    1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. . What is central serous chorioretinopathy? . Available at: .

    2. Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Patient Information. Central Serous Chorioretinopathy . Available at:

    3. British Journal of Opthalmology. . Risk Factors For Incident Central Serous Retinopathy. 103:1784-1788. Zhou M, Bakri SJ, Pershing S.

    4. Asrs.org. . Central Serous Chorioretinopathy – The American Society of Retina Specialists. Available at: .

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    Can Anxiety Cause Dizziness And Blurred Vision

    Anxiety is not a common cause of blurred vision but there is a possible link between the two.

    What generally happens when you are in a highly anxious state or suffering from a panic attack is that your vision actually improves and sharpens. This is because your body has gone into a fight or flight mode in response to a fear or perceived threat, and your vision often sharpens to help you identify the threat more easily.

    For some people, the opposite is true and they actually suffer from blurred vision and dizziness during moments of high anxiety. During a panic attack when the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, things start to move faster. Your heart starts racing, your blood pressure rises and your muscles may start twitching. Because everything is moving faster as your body prepares you to identify threats, you may have difficulty focusing on the things around you. This lack of focus combined with everything moving quickly can be the cause of blurred vision and dizziness.

    Can Stress Cause Central Serous Retinopathy

    During periods of stress, the body releases a hormone called cortisol. This makes blood vessels more permeable and fragile. As a result, this can increase the likelihood of fluids seeping from blood vessels into the eye, which is why people who are under a lot of stress are more at risk of developing CSR.1 In some cases, no cause can be found to explain why the condition occurred.

    According to Moorfields Eye Hospital, in London, middle-aged men in their 30s to 50s are listed as a primary risk factor for CSR, alongside:2

    • Treatment with steroid medications
    • Cushings syndrome

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    Flammer Syndrome And Stress

    FS and the science behind it is a starting point for our discussion of the concept that some diseases of low vision may be considered psychosomatic in nature. FS is found mostly in cases with NTG which was first described by Dr. Josef Flammer at the University Eye Clinic in Basel, Switzerland, who provided insight into how closely the mind and the body interact . NTG often leads to visual field impairments but almost never to blindness. According to Flammers proposal, stress hormone release in persons with endothelial dysfunction leads to vascular dysregulation. This, in turn, is a key mechanism of vision loss in NTG but not one in high pressure glaucoma. The discovery of the FS is a key advance in our understanding of the role of stress in certain forms of vision loss. It establishes a link between human psychology , pathophysiological susceptibility , and the biological stress response , the combination of which leads to vision loss. FS is most obvious in younger patients that have NTG, but the principles we learn from FS may also apply to other diseases of the visual system.

    In summary, the syndrome that Flammer has uncovered is a more holistic perspective of mechanisms underlying some diseases of vision loss. It considers different levels of analysis including molecular, cellular, physiological, and behavioral symptoms.

    You Have High Blood Pressure

    Anxiety and Distorted or Blurry Vision

    You may already know that high blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart disease. What you may not know is that it can also cause a mini-stroke of the eye called vein occlusion, according to the National Library of Medicine.

    “These patients feel no pain,” said Dr. Shah. “They will wake up, and their vision is blurry.” Blurry vision due to vein occlusion usually strikes just one eye, added Dr. Shah.

    Treatments for vein occlusionincluding medication to ease swelling of the maculaneed to be given right away in order to be effective. Even then, you may experience vision loss.

    To protect against vein occlusion, if you’re over 50 and have high blood pressure, Dr. Shah recommended getting regular eye exams.

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    Does Having Blurry Vision And Stress Mean I Have Central Serous Retinopathy

    While you should be aware of CSR if you have blurry vision and stress, these can also be signs of a variety of different conditions, and may not be related at all. In most cases, the cause of central serous retinopathy is unknown, but experiencing both blurry vision and stress has been linked to the condition. This is because of the stress hormone, cortisol.5 Its worth noting that stress is not the sole culprit of CSR, and there are multiple factors involved.5

    One of the best ways to know whether blurry vision and stress are signs of CSR is to get an OCT scan.

    How Can Stress Cause Blurry Vision

    If youre wondering how can stress cause blurry vision, you must first look at the connection between the two health conditions. When the body experiences stress, anxiety, or other responses, the eyes may continue to dilate to receive as much light as possible. The stress is part of the fight or flight response that also releases cortisol, a hormone that should regulate these stressful situations. However, continuous stress gives a negative impact that results in eye twitching or strain. Clinical trials and research see that mental health and stress gradually affects eye vision as people age.

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