Vision care has always been a vital part of any health routine, but these days, it's more important than ever. That's not just because your eyes are facing the strain of constant screen exposure (though that's a big consideration)--it's also because the increased stress levels of modern life can impact your vision. Here's what to know and when to head to your eye doctor.
How Does Stress Impact Vision?
You probably know that vision care comes in all kinds of different forms--but you may never have considered stress management to be one of them.
That's because it's not immediately obvious how stress impacts eye health. After all, stress can sometimes feel like it's all in your head. The truth, however, is that stress can and often does manifest itself in physical ways, creating health concerns you shouldn't overlook.
The Body's Response to Stress
When it comes to vision care, the most concerning impact of stress is the creation of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals are your body's response to what it interprets as a dangerous situation--even if that "danger" is just work stress or a big exam. Both cortisol and adrenaline are designed to help you survive in crisis situations, which means they're actually trying to protect you; however, when stress becomes frequent and extended, these hormones can disrupt certain bodily functions.
For example, high cortisol rates can potentially disrupt blood flow between your eyes and brain. Similarly, adrenaline may dilate your pupils and lead to tight, twitchy eyes and light sensitivity. Over time, this kind of discomfort could create vision health issues.
Symptoms of Stressed Eyes
Stress impacts people differently. However, there are a few key symptoms to look out for when it comes to vision:
Blurry vision: You might have trouble reading or focusing on words, numbers, and more.
Sensitivity: Your eyes may water or feel uncomfortable in high-light environments.
Headaches: Many vision issues can lead to headaches, especially when stress is involved.
Eye strain: Your eyes may feel tired or irritated, almost as if you're using them too much.
Floaters: These small, dark shapes in your vision can be distracting and may indicate other vision care issues.
When to Visit Your Eye Doctor
If you notice any symptoms of stressed eyes, it's smart to visit your eye doctor. That's because many of these symptoms can indicate other eye issues. Additionally, stress-related eye problems may impede your daily activities, like the ability to drive or work with screens for long periods of time.
Your eye doctor will help identify the root cause of your vision care problems. They can also recommend the best solutions, like vision therapy or other treatment options.
Your vision is too important to risk--so if you notice persistent issues, play it safe and head to the eye doctor.
Stress Management for Vision Care
Although an eye doctor is the best ally your vision could hope for, there are plenty of at-home stress reduction and vision care approaches to try until you make it to your appointment. You may have heard some of these recommendations in other forms--for example, as ways to reduce anxiety or protect your mental health--which just goes to show that your body and mind aren't really that separate after all.
Here are a few stress management techniques to help protect your vision:
Get plenty of sleep.
Sleep is vital for good health, especially when it comes to your vision. Give your eyes the break they deserve by getting the right amount of rest.
Take screen breaks.
Constant screen exposure isn't just bad for your vision--it's also a source of stress for some people. Take short breaks throughout the day to reset your brain and eyes.
Exercise is another important element of overall health, and while it may not directly impact your vision care routine, it might just be the best solution for quickly addressing stress. The key is to find an activity you enjoy, whether that's taking your dog for a run or stopping by the gym to lift some weights.
Stress can have a significant impact on both the body and mind, which means it's an important element of vision care. If you notice any symptoms of stress-related eye issues, like sensitivity or discomfort, it's best to head to your eye doctor. In the meantime, brush up on all the best ways to reduce stress and protect your vision at the same time.
Need to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor? Contact us today to get help with stress-related eye issues and other vision care topics.