Can Stress Cause Retinal Detachment?

Everyone gets stressed out once in a while. As we know, stress often has a negative impact on a person’s physical well-being and can even be hard on the eyes. If you frequently experience stress you might wonder, can stress cause retinal detachment? 

The simple answer is no, stress cannot cause retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is due to tears in the peripheral retina. Retinal detachment occurs in less than 1 in 10,000 people and can occur at any age but is more likely to affect people over age 40.  

A retinal detachment is also more likely to occur in people who:

  • Are extremely nearsighted
  • Have had a retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Have a family history of retinal detachment
  • Have had cataract surgery
  • Have other eye diseases or disorders, such as retinoschisis, uveitis or degenerative myopia
  • Have had an eye injury

When a retinal detachment begins, patients usually notice a dark shadow in the corner of their visual field that moves across. This is often referred to as a curtain effect. As a detached retina progresses towards the center of your eye, the macula, central and total vision loss occurs.

Despite the fact that stress cannot cause retinal detachment, it can certainly be harmful to your eye health. In a stressful situation the human body produces a hormone known as epinephrine. Epinephrine, otherwise known as adrenaline, causes your pupils to dilate so that the world around you is seen more clearly. Being stressed out all the time will result in constant dilation of the pupils, and ultimately eye strain. Stress induced eye strain is often accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Reduction of peripheral vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Twitching in the eyes

Ways to Reduce Stress

Taking some time to unwind is vitally important if you’re feeling stressed out. Consider deep breathing routines, exercise, yoga or meditation as ways to relieve stress in your life. Moreover, you can try to isolate the problem that is causing you stress and if possible, try to resolve that problem. Other ways to destress include:

  • Taking a warm bath, preferably with Epsom salts
  • Going for a walk 
  • Listening to calming music or white noise
  • Talking to a friend or family member

Retinal detachment is a serious medical emergency. Without urgent treatment, retinal detachment will result in permanent vision loss. The retina is one of the most important structures in your eye because it converts what you see into electrical impulses to your brain.

If you have vision concerns, please contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or website to schedule an exam with our doctors.

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