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Can Stress Cause Double Vision?

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A point of view of a person suffering from double vision looking at a pair of eyeglasses on top of an opened book.

Experiencing an instance where your vision doubles, seeing two images instead of one is a condition known as diplopia or more commonly, double vision, and it can be quite disconcerting. 

In some instances, it may even signify a deeper medical issue, like an eye disease. We are all aware that stress can induce a multitude of physical symptoms, but can it also lead to double vision? 

When you’re feeling stressed out, it could lead to symptoms of vision loss and even visual distortions, affecting one or both of your eyes, either intermittently or constantly. Anxiety, which is often a stress reaction, can also cause double vision, particularly if you’re hyperventilating, or breathing too fast.

Continued stress and elevated cortisol levels can also hurt your eyes and brain due to an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system. However, these symptoms could be linked to mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder. 

So, if you’re experiencing any vision problems, including double vision, it’s always a good idea to get an eye exam to determine the root cause and get appropriate treatment.

Understanding Double Vision 

When your eyes aren’t lining up right, it can lead to double vision. This happens because your brain is getting two different pictures from each eye. 

Several factors can cause this, like problems with your eye muscles, nerve damage, or even conditions that mess with your brain. Sometimes, certain medications can also give you double vision. 

But don’t stress, (that can exacerbate double vision too!) not all double vision means there’s a serious problem underneath it all.

What Can Cause Double Vision

Double vision can be caused by a variety of factors. It might be something minor like astigmatism, which is a common eye condition that can make your vision blurry or distorted.

Sometimes, the cause could be more serious. For instance, a brain aneurysm or stroke could lead to double vision. Other potential causes include increased pressure from injury, bleeding, or infection, tumors, and migraine headaches.

Vertigo, a sensation that your surroundings are spinning, could also cause diplopia. This is typically due to issues with your inner ear.

If you’re experiencing double vision when looking with just one eye, the cause might be ophthalmological, such as a cataract, a problem with the retina, or some other eye condition.

Other possible causes include strabismus, uncorrected refractive problems, retinal diseases, or certain muscular and neurological alterations.

Double vision could also be due to your eyes focusing too hard. If you’re experiencing double vision, it’s always best to seek the advice of a professional to determine the cause, considering there are many, and get the appropriate treatment.

The Effects of Stress on the Body

Stress is renowned for its adverse effects on our physical health. When we experience stress, our bodies respond by increasing the levels of cortisol, leading to a range of health complications. 

Some common manifestations of stress include muscle tension, headaches, and digestion issues. Long-lasting mental stress can make vision loss worse. Stress can affect your vision in many ways, ranging from eye strain to double vision to visual distortion

How Stress Can Cause Double Vision

Recent research shows that when we’re super stressed out, our bodies pump out more cortisol and adrenaline as part of the whole fight-or-flight response. This can put pressure on our eyes and lead to blurred or even double vision.

And it’s not just about blurry or double vision. Stress can cause a whole bunch of other eye problems too–like dry eyes, flashes, and sensitivity to light. It’s pretty wild to think that our mental state can have such a big impact on how we see the world.

There are treatments out there for stress-related vision problems. So if you’re noticing any changes in your vision and you’ve been feeling stressed, it might be worth having a chat with an eye doctor. They can help figure out what’s going on and what you can do about it.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Experiencing double vision due to stress can be quite unsettling, but usually, it’s not something to worry about too much. That being said, if you find that you’re seeing double on a regular basis, or if it’s paired with other symptoms like headaches or aching eyes, it’s definitely a good idea to get checked out by a doctor. These could be signs of a more serious issue that needs to be addressed.

A young woman practising a yoga pose in a brightly lit room.

Coping with Stress-Induced Double Vision

If stress is making you see double, don’t worry, there’s ways things you can do to help. First off, try to relax a bit–do some yoga, meditate, or whatever helps you to unwind. That can really help reduce your stress levels. 

You might also want to try some eye exercises. They can help strengthen your eye muscles and get them back in line. And you could even try wearing a patch over one eye–it’s all about retraining those eye muscles. 

If all else fails, you might need glasses or contact lenses to correct the double vision. But remember, this is just a temporary thing caused by stress, so don’t stress about it too much!

The Connection Between Stress & Your Vision

Stress can certainly cause double vision, albeit temporarily in most cases. It is important to understand the causes and symptoms of double vision, and when it may be indicative of a more serious underlying condition. 

If you are experiencing persistent double vision or other concerning symptoms, it is important to seek the attention of an eye care professional with Rancho Santa Margarita Optometry now operated by Total Vision

Otherwise, try to reduce stress through relaxation techniques and other activities and be sure to take care of your eyes by performing regular eye exercises and visiting us regularly. Book your appointment today!

Written by Total Vision

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