Stress Can Cause Problems For Your Eyes

Millions of people across the UK experience stress on a daily basis – and this stress can cause all kinds of unexpected problems for our eyes and eyesight, say the experts at Optical Express.

April is National Stress Awareness Month, bringing attention to the negative impact stress can have on our mental and physical wellbeing.

Those experts at Optical Express have revealed that stress stimulates the ‘fight or flight’ reflex which helps us determine a response to threats. When we experience a stressful moment, the pupils of our eyes dilate to enhance vision. When we are continually stressed and experience stressed eyes, our pupils commonly stay dilated, which can lead to a number of problems such as the following:


Eye strain

Eye strain causing visual fatigue is a common side-effect of looking at a computer screen too long but it can also be triggered by stress.


Blurred vision

Long-term stress or highly stressful situations can lead to raised levels of adrenaline in the body, which in turn may lead to blurred vision caused by stress.


Dry or watery eyes

Stress can lead to dry or watery eyes, with either symptom brought around by worry or anxiety. However, which symptom you experience depends on how your body handles stress specifically.


Eye twitching

After prolonged periods of stress, it is possible to develop involuntary spasms in one or both eyes.


Light sensitivity

People who are experiencing stress may begin to find it difficult to see in bright lighting or find that bright lights cause their eyes to hurt.


Eye floaters

A sign of prolonged stress or a highly stressful situation, could be tiny spots swimming across your vision.



Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express, says: “Stress can have an impact us all in different ways. One person could feel all of these symptoms, while the next only feels one or two.

“Whether you experience these issues or not, stress will cause the muscles that surround the eyes to become tense, which could lead to soreness or migraines.

 “If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, there are a few techniques you can use to help de-stress. Exercising and deep breathing both help relieve tension by relaxing the body and calming the nervous system which controls the ‘fight or flight’ response.”

 If you are suffering from stress-related symptoms over a long period of time visit your local Optical Express for an eye test. Book your appointment today at


Picture: What does stress do to your eyes?

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
14th April 2024


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