How does stress affect the eyes

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Stress factors can lead to retinal detachment

Stress can have various effects on the human body, including the eye. With a disease of the retina, the retinopathia centralis serosa, eye problems arise, among other things, due to an increased level of stress.

When stress is high, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, but also blood pressure, usually rise. This can cause cracks and leaks in the choroid. Through this, fluid can flow under the retina and lift it off or even completely detach it (retinal detachment or amotio retinae).

Often men are affected by stressful occupational situations

The disease mainly affects men between 20 and 50 years of age. Especially people who are difficult to deal with stress or who are exposed to very stressful professional situations have a higher risk of falling ill. In the case of very ambitious personality types in professional life, one speaks of so-called type A personalities.

Symptoms of central serous retinopathy

Retinopathia centralis serosa can manifest itself through various symptoms such as reduced vision or scotomas (visual field defects). In addition, color and contrast vision can be impaired. Often both eyes are affected.

Course form decisive for the prognosis

Depending on the duration of the disease, a distinction is made between two different forms: the acute and the chronic (duration over 6 months). Depending on the situation, the prognosis also differs. In general, the longer the retinopathy persists, the worse.

Diagnosis through various examinations

When examining the eyes with the slit lamp, the ophthalmologist sees a build-up of fluid in the retina in the fundus. In addition to the slit lamp examination, an OCT (optical coherence tomography) is usually performed, in which the retinal detachment can be better assessed.

Stress reduction as the most important factor in treatment

It is particularly important to reduce any increased stress level during therapy. Breathing and relaxation techniques or sports such as yoga or Pilates can be helpful here. In most cases the symptoms go away on their own, the disease is self-limiting. However, in some cases, it will recur over time.

If the disease does not resolve on its own, other options such as laser treatment or photodynamic therapy can be considered.

With the laser, the cracks and leaks can be closed or the retina can be reattached. VEGF inhibitors, i.e. drugs that inhibit the growth of new blood vessels, can also be injected into the eye.

Medications that contain cortisone should no longer be taken. Other drugs, on the other hand, can have a positive influence on the course of the disease, such as drugs against Helicobacter pylori, aspirin, drugs against fungi or altitude sickness or so-called aldosterone antagonists.


Stress can have negative effects on the entire body, including the eyes. Do you also suffer from extreme tension and have problems with your eyes and vision? Do not hesitate and make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to rule out the presence of a central serous retinopathy or to be able to treat it optimally if necessary. Your ophthalmologists in Zurich Wallisellen will be happy to examine and treat you!

This article corresponds to the current state of science

Retinopathia centralis serosaOphthalmologists Zurich2017-12-05Ophthalmologists Zurich - Wallisellen Center