Stress Can Cause Vision Loss

Stress Can Cause Vision Loss
Don’t be short-sighted and above all, don’t lose sight over what’s meaningful in the ultimate scheme of things. Stress robs you of resiliency which is rooted in the ability to see the big picture, not just the little stain on the canvass. When you are upset, you find it difficult, if not impossible, to reframe the picture with a positive one. And at this point you are not only hurting your spirit, but your physical vision. “Continuous stress and elevated cortisol levels negatively impact the eye and brain due to autonomic nervous system (sympathetic) imbalance and vascular deregulation,” Prof. Sabel, Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Magdeburg University, Germany and lead investigator of this study, emphasizing that both the eye and the brain are involved in vision loss; this fact is often overlooked by treating physicians and is not systematically documented in the medical literature.

This new research has established a crucial link between vision acuity and stress. The rationale is that stress is perceived by the brain and so too is vision. Traditionally, medicine has focused on eye physiology regarding eye health and eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and optic neuropathy. However, a team of researchers have included the brain as a partner in vision and if the brain is stressed, then vision is compromised. "There is clear evidence of a psychosomatic component to vision loss, as stress is an important cause - not just a consequence - of progressive vision loss," says Prof. Sabel who has pioneered a holistic treatment approach that combines stress management, patient education, and vision recovery and restoration techniques at the SAVIR-Center for Vision Restoration in Germany.

Consequently, if stress can reduce vision acuity, then reducing stress can prevent and even restore vision. The expression a “sight for sore eyes” contains a basic truth that looking at uplifting objects, landscapes and people can heal sore eyes. What you see is what you get!

Preventive measures to reduce progression of vision loss
  • Exercise is the most efficient way to reduce stress to shed cortisol which lodges longest in the brain. Working out creates a can-do mindset to solve the stressor by improving blood flow to the brain to help you think straight
  • Breathe deeply as you close your eyes to visualize your happy place using the 5 senses to re-experience it. This will restore your natural rhythm
  • Practice reframing negatives into positives, looking for the bright side and the compassionate interpretation of a nasty conflict or aggravating problem. If you can’t see the positive, call up a friend to restore your view
  • When doing stressful detailed work on your computer, get up periodically and stretch your eyes by looking out the window at a landscape
  • According to the Bible the first act of creation was light. Don’t lose your light. Find your own creative outlet to relax and redirect your focus inward
  • Tap into healthy nutrition which reduces stress and improves eye health. You are what you eat and you need unclogged vessels for both brain and eye health. In fact, Alzheimer’s can be detected by an eye exam

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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