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5 Tips to Stop Holiday Stress from Hurting Your Vision

Your heart is racing, your palms are sweaty, and you feel dizzy and nauseous. These are just some of the symptoms of an anxiety attack. But some anxiety symptoms can be hard to self-diagnose, especially when it comes to your vision. In fact, common eye issues such as floaters, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and eye pain can also be anxiety symptoms.

How Does Anxiety Impact Eyesight
During intense anxiety, two things happen to your eyes. First, your pupils dilate in response to your body’s fight or flight response – a physical reaction as a result of a perceived attack or threat to survival. Your pupils naturally dilate as part of this response to help you see in order to make quick decisions. While better vision is a benefit during an intense situation, your dilated pupils are also the cause of the light sensitivity, floaters, and eye aches that can occur along with your anxiety.

The second thing that can happen to your eyes during an anxiety attack is blurred vision and further eye pain caused by the tightening of the muscles in your face, which constricts blood vessels to the eyes.

Aside from blurred vision, floaters, and eye aches, anxiety can also lead to a visual effect known as visual snow, which is similar to how television static looks. Some people with extreme anxiety may also experience hallucinations such as a blur of color or a shadowy figure in their peripheral vision. Others may have visual perception changes with trouble identifying the space, height, and dimensions of their surroundings, particularly during extreme fear.

How to Prevent Vision Issues Caused by Anxiety
Vision problems resulting from an anxiety attack are usually not cause for alarm and generally only last momentarily. If symptoms do persist, you should contact an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to rule out anything more serious.

Below are a few tips from to help decrease your anxiety which in turn can prevent the associated vision problems:

  • Drink water – Drinking water will help you stay hydrated and prevent your body from being even more affected by the anxiety attack
  • Turn off the lights – Too much visual stimulus can make your eye issues seem even more severe. Turn the lights off to help your eyes calm down, which will also help you calm down.
  • Sit or lie down – When you feel yourself getting anxious, it’s best to stop any activities that require clear vision. For instance, if you are driving you need to pull over. Not only is this for your safety, but being in the middle of an activity as your anxiety level rises can make you even more anxious.
  • Rest – Try to get plenty of rest and relaxation every day, keeping your body and mind calm overall to decrease the frequency of anxiety attacks.

Avoid caffeine – If you are prone to anxiety attacks, you should limit or avoid caffeine. Caffeine increases your heart rate and puts additional pressure on your system.