(DENVER, Colo.) — NEWS: Doctors of optometry across Colorado, 2020 Eyes Colorado, and the Colorado Optometric Association (COA) have launched a September awareness initiative to help educate Coloradans on the impact of stress on eyesight and eye health.
“The long-term stress individuals and families are experiencing this year has the potential to impact eye health in a range of ways from mild eye discomfort to vision loss. This is a health issue that is preventable and most related symptoms can be managed at home. If symptoms linger or impact your quality of life, we do recommend an optometric eye exam,” says Sheryl Benjamin, COA Executive Director.
Everyone has experienced that familiar moment in a challenging situation when stress takes over the body. This is called fight, flight or freeze and it’s where the body moves into protection mode. Initially, the heart may pump faster as adrenaline moves through the body, breathing becomes shallow, and pupils dilate enhancing the ability to see danger. The body is preparing for a physical threat even if the stress is from a non-physical threat like a difficult project at work or a conflict with a friend.
The individual may experience a range of stress from mild stress to high stress. The eyes also experience a range of impact due to stress from mild discomfort to debilitating vision loss.
Symptoms of Stress Impacting Vision Health:
* Tunnel vision – Loss of visual acuity in the peripheral vision. The person feels like they can only see in front of themselves.
* Light sensitivity – An intolerance to light. The person feels like they have to close their eyes when experiencing light and they feel discomfort.
* Eye twitching – Random spasms around the lid of one or both eyes.
* Very dry or very wet eyes – Both of these can be cause by stress depending on the body’s response.
* Blurry vision – This is usually mild when caused by stress.
* Eye strain – Fatigue of the eyes may be caused by stress, but can also be caused by too much screen time.
* Vision Loss – The stress hormone cortisol can damage the eye and the brain. Stress is also linked to causing diseases that can lead to vision loss including glaucoma.
It’s more likely that the eye’s response to stress will be minor, but if any of these symptoms are impacting your quality of life or the symptoms persist contact your optometrist immediately.
Ideas to Lower Stress & Relax Your Eyes
* Reduce your screen time for a few days to reduce eye strain and give eye muscles a break.
* During screen time use the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
* Participate in a daily meditation.
* Exercise daily.
* Walk outside if possible.
* Eat a healthy diet.
* Get good sleep.
* Join an online social group.
* Consider weekly mental health therapy.
* Connect with your doctor about potential medication if stress and anxiety remain unmanageable.
Optometrists know that stress impacts every system of the body including the eyes. Colorado’s doctors of optometry want you to know that the benefits of managing stress on a daily basis will not only improve eye health, but overall health. Even picking one stress reducing activity daily can help. Read more at: https://2020eyescolorado.org/pandemic-stress-can-change-your-eyesight-pr/
About the Colorado Optometric Association (COA):
The Colorado Optometric Association (COA) is the professional organization of optometrists in Colorado. Over 600 Colorado Doctors of Optometry are voluntary members of the Association. COA has also launched a public health campaign called 2020 Eyes Colorado.
Since 1892, the COA has assisted its members in providing the highest standard of professional care to their patients by sponsoring continuing education programs for doctors, advocating in local and state governments for programs and laws that represent patients’ best interests, and providing information for the public. For more information, please visit http://www.visioncare.org/ or call 303-863-9778.
Related link: https://colorado.aoa.org/
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