Fact Checked

Anxiety May Cause Eye Pain

Daniel Sher, MA, Clin Psychology
Anxiety May Cause Eye Pain

It may seem strange that there should be a connection between anxiety and your eyes. Your eyes are directly connected to an area of your brain that is generally less affected by hormones and neurotransmitters. Some people's eyes get dizzy or blurry during times of intense stress, but most people with anxiety do not experience symptoms related to their eyes or vision.

But a small number of people living with anxiety do experience eye pain, and because the symptom is not as common as other anxiety symptoms, many of those people worry that their eye pain is caused by something more problematic.

The Causes of Eye Pain

The easiest way to tell if a pain or feeling is a symptom of anxiety is to determine whether or not it appears to get worse during times of stress. Still, for some that can be tricky - those with generalized anxiety disorder, for example, are often feeling stress, and this can make it difficult to tell when their eye pain is or is not connected to their stress. For some it may feel like the eye pain is what's causing the increase in stress - and this is entirely possible as well. 

There are several potential reasons for eye pain. They include:

Some of the causes of eye pain from anxiety are not entirely clear, but there are so many things that happen to people's bodies during stress that the idea that anxiety might be linked to eye pain is not implausible. 

Some people may also become over sensitive to their eye pain, because anxiety does have the effect of making people pay more attention to the way they feel, especially if it's something that causes them stress.

Is There a Way to Reduce Eye Pain?

Eye pain can be problematic, and make it far more difficult to focus on work or life in front of you. That's why so many people hope to stop anxiety eye pain as quickly as possible.

The problem is that it's not that simple. There are some anxiety symptoms that you can control, but your eyes are a bit of a wild card in this regard. In other words, it’s difficult to directly alter a bodily function that’s connected to a complex underlying neurological function. Nonetheless, some people find that closing their eyes for a while can help - especially if there is some eye strain involved.

In general, what you need to do is learn to control your anxiety symptoms. Only then can you successfully prevent future eye pain from developing as a result of anxiety.

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