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Can Anxiety Cause Vision Problems?

Posted Mar 14 2009 4:22pm

Car wash of the soul Having tricks of vision is most definitely an anxiety symptom.  The type of tricks vary but generally speaking they involve blurry vision, tunnel vision, and just plain thinking you saw something when there was nothing there.

Most of this can be chalked up to stress.  Stress was not named the silent killer because it just sounds good.  Overtime stress can take a real serious toll on you psychologically and physically.  Now when stress and anxiety join forces is when you may encounter a problem with respect to your vision.

I want to keep this basic so I will simply say that if you are having vision problems because of your anxiety it is mainly tied to fatigue, muscle tension, and the excessive production of adrenaline.

Chronic stress (because of ongoing anxiety) leads to an over production of adrenaline.  This has several potentially nasty effects on the body but of importance to us is the fact that it can increase intraocular pressure.  And although the elevation of intraocular pressure may not be significant it can cause blurry vision.

Tunnel vision is also related to the excessive production of adrenaline.  One of the bodies mechanisms most clearly tied to anxiety is the fight or flight response.  Among other things, this bodily reaction pumps adrenaline into the blood stream which may temporarily cause tunnel vision.

In life or death situations tunnel vision can be a life saver (literally) because it brings focus to the task at hand.  However, if you’re sitting on your lazy boy and having a panic attack the benefit is lost.

In addition to blurred or tunneled vision you may have also experienced peripheral vision tricks.  That is, you thought you saw something from the corner of your eye when nothing was there.  This is one that can be related to lots of things, but in my view it happens to all people.

It may however happen more to anxious people because they are hypersensitive to their surroundings and also anticipate things all the time.  Being cranked up on adrenaline can also make you jumpy and super aware of gleams of light, shadows, and even slight variation in wind velocity.  In other words, don’t worry so much about this one.

In terms of seeing spots of light and wiggle worms ( floaters ), this is probably due to an actual vision problem.  Please remember that if you are experiencing new or different vision problems to speak with an optometrist so you can obtain a proper evaluation.  You know what happens when you assume things.

This is by far not an exhaustive list of things that can go wrong with your anxiety driven vision problem.  Indeed, you may have dealt with some very strange vision problems before as a result of being anxious.  And that is my main message to you.

Anxiety can do seemingly everything when it comes to our bodies.  It can strain muscles, temporarily raise blood pressure, create tension and many other things that can effect vision.  So once more let me be the one to verify for you that you’re not crazy.  This stuff does happen to anxiety sufferers.

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