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Vision Problems and How Anxiety can Affect Your Eyes

Various threads state that one of the symptoms of Derealization and Depersonalization are visual problems; such as "visual snow", blurry vision or things just not coming into focus how you want. While these things can sometimes be legitimate eye issues, most of the time during dissociation it's based off of extreme anxiety brought on by the fight-or-flight response.

Fight-or-Flight Response.

When a potential threat is perceived, a person's body releases hormones called adrenaline and cortisol (being the most prominent chemicals) - these chemicals prepare the person for when they determine the proper course of action against a threat; the individual may either flee or attack the threat head on, hence the "fight or flight", but the chemicals will help under any circumstances. Other than just experiencing this response during a potential threat, this response also triggers extreme anxiety which can actually play a particular role in your vision impairments, along with the actual response itself.

How These Can Affect Vision.

The fight-or-flight response can play a role in vision problems by simply dilating your pupils. When experiencing a threat, for instance a fight with another individual, you will start to have a flow of chemicals with the added dilated pupils. The dilation of pupils is used to react quicker to the situation; if someone threw a punch at you, your pupils would dilate to react to the thrown punch and allow you a better chance at either dodging or catching the punch to protect yourself. This dilation may be why some people with dissociation have blurry or sometimes askew vision - simply because their eyes are focusing on one key point or fixated on the blurriness of the vision itself.

While there is no technique to getting your eyes to go back to normal as a dilation like this happens, as the dilation is a part of a 100% automatic response, there are ways that you can control your anxiety. The things listed below will certainly help to get rid of blurred/askew vision faster, but the best way to approach the situation of vision impairments would be to understand what caused the anxiety, then working to cure it. If you feel that your eye problems are persisting and are not connected to anxiety, please go see a doctor and get your eyes checked.

Techniques to decreasing anxiety attacks on eyes after they happen:
  • Breathe slowly. Over-breathing can cause you to hyperventilate, which made lead to further eye problems altogether.
  • Find a distraction. Distractions take you out of your mind and away form the thoughts that are causing you stress. They can even decrease the severity of your anxiety attacks.
  • Exercise, if you can. Some people's anxiety attacks are so severe that it's very hard to move, but those that can find the strength to go walking or running should do so, since that can burn away some of the adrenaline.
The best technique to getting rid of blurred vision and other impairments would be to locate the anxiety and shut it down at the source. Although some eye problems can be brought on by anxiety, it is best to approach this subject with caution as sometimes they can be legitimate eye problems. If that is the case, locate your optometrist and have them take a look, but if you're finding that lowering anxiety in general is helping you keep your eyes clear, then a doctor may not be needed.


How Anxiety May Interfere with your Eyes.
How Anxiety Affects the Eye Pupil.


Dec 17 2013 11:07 AM

I always thought the vision issues were more related to the disassociation. At least for me it is as I don't experience anxiety. It has nothing to do with how my eyes/pupils function, it's all in the brain.


Dec 23 2013 06:53 PM

Talked with my therapist about vission distortions, she said that when the body is overly stressed it catches shapes and noises that we normally wouldnt notice, which makes us think we are seeing/hearing things.

It helped the stoneage man when he was threatened by a predator, but in the modern world not so much.


Dec 30 2013 05:20 AM

Great post!


Dec 30 2013 04:12 PM

Great post!
Thanks! I'm glad it was good.


Jan 10 2014 07:09 AM

Can floaters and flashes in the field of view be connected to this?

A doctor have looked at my eyes to see if were retinal detachment, but said everything looked fine.


Jan 10 2014 04:59 PM

Can floaters and flashes in the field of view be connected to this?

A doctor have looked at my eyes to see if were retinal detachment, but said everything looked fine.
If your doctor said everything looked fine, then I would venture to say that, yes, your floaters and flashes are related to anxiety.


Feb 15 2014 09:06 PM

Nice post.

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