Can Stress Cause Eye Floaters

Can Stress Cause Eye Floaters

Eye floaters, also referred to as flashes, can be quite upsetting. No matter what you do or what you are looking at, they are in your field of vision. They are especially visible when you’re staring at a blank wall, white wall, or a clear blue sky. Those who have been dealing with them for some time find them especially irritating. They can take the shape of specks, spots, spider webs, squiggles and more.

There are many who believe that eye floaters are the result of increased stress levels. However, before we can make a correlation between eye floaters and stress levels, we must first define what they are and look at some myths vs. facts about what causes them.

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What are Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters/flashes are condensation that has developed in your vitreous humor. As mentioned, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Moving the eye around makes them more noticeable because it causes them to “float” within the vitreous humor. They are typically the result of collagen accumulation in the back of your eye.

Myths Related to Floaters

Eye Floaters cause Vision Impairment or Blindness

One of the most common misconception regarding floaters is that they can cause you to become blind. At the worst, they are simply aggravating- especially within the first few days to months after the first appear. While they are quite frustrating, there is no proof that they are associated with any particular disease or medical condition. They are commonly attributed to the natural degeneration of the eye.

Eye Floaters are a Medical Emergency

You shouldn’t be alarmed by eye floaters. As stated above, they are mostly the result of natural degeneration of the eye- which means, the older we get, the more likely we are to develop them. The only time floaters should be considered a medical emergency is if you are also seeing light flashes. This could be indicative that your retina is detaching, which means that your eye isn’t getting the blood, oxygen, and nutrients it needs. If you are seeing the light flashes, consult your physician because retinal detachment can cause complications such as vision impairment or even blindness.

Eye Floaters are Transparent

While it’s true that eye floaters are typically transparent/clear, there are some cases when they will appear to be red. Hemorrhaging of the vitreous humor is also a common cause of floaters. PVD, or posterior vitreous detachment, could result in the pulling away of the vitreous humor from the blood vessel. This causes the blood vessel to burst, which causes the blood to seep into the vitreous humor, leading to red floaters.

Eye Floaters Don’t Happen in Both Eyes

Studies have proven that individuals who have floaters in one eye will most likely have them in both within about 18 months. This is due to the degeneration of the vitreous humor, which typically happens at about the same rate in both eyes.

Eye Floaters Do Not Occur Following Cataract Surgery

Laser surgery for the treatment of cataracts may result in more floaters. In addition, the laser surgery does not promise to eliminate eye floaters. There is a very high chance that laser cataract surgery could cause damage to the eye or change the quality/position of the vitreous humor. Therefore, it’s critical that individuals only trust an experienced surgeon to work on their eyes.

Eye Floaters Only Occur in Old People

The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your age is, anyone can develop eye floaters. Sure, most of the people that get them are in the older population- but young people can get them too. Individuals with diabetes are prone to developing eye floaters- especially if they are not taking proper care of themselves.

Eye Floaters are the Result of Stress

While it’s true that many studies have indicated there is a connection between eye floaters and stress, researchers have not been able to find any hard evidence that supports this thought. However, some other studies have indicated that perhaps stress is an indirect cause of eye floaters. The eye floaters that are the result of stress and/or anxiety can be caused by eye strain. Most individuals who have eye strain are diagnosed with myopia, which can cause the eye floaters if not treated properly.

Eye floaters can be quite irritating and can happen no matter what your age. However, you can alleviate or even reduce their appearance/occurrence by doing some eye movement exercises. While surgery is a viable option, most surgeons won’t do surgery on mild to moderate cases. This is because surgery does not guarantee to get rid of them.

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