Vision Issues... Is it all anxiety

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Hi. I am a 20 year old female. A year ago I started having strange symptoms that spiraled into having awful health anxiety. At one point I heard about eye floaters and was terrified I would get them. Sure enough I started seeing them (which I am terribly depressed/ anxious about). I obsess over my eyes 24/7, and it seems like as time progresses I just have more and more issues. In addition to the floaters, I have worsened visual snow and after images. I can’t look at the snow or sky without seeing all these things moving around. My eyes will often unfocus/blur out as well. I went to the doctor a couple months ago and he said my eyes were fine.

I don't get it. Is this all anxiety? OCD?  Hyperawareness? It has greatly affected the quality of my life. This has been going on for 7 months now and I don't know how much longer I can take it. Any advice?

Also I know there's already similar posts like this so I apoligize but I just really need a personal reponse.

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Naranja, I think your first port of call is to book an appointment with a good optician. They will be able to have a look at your eyes properly and see if anything is wrong.

    If you need to they can also refer you on for additional treatment.

    I doubt anything is wrong as due to your description of your problem, it sounds like this is born from anxiety and has then turned into obsession...it's hard to break this sort of cycle, but it can be done.

    Hopefully getting the all clear from an optician will do just that and help you get over your worries smile

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply! I did have an appointment with one a couple months ago and he said my eyes are fine besides a freckle that just needs to be checked on once a year.

      When I asked about the floaters he cut my off saying, "Just got to live with it." (He acted very rude)

      I can't afford to keep scheduling appoinments but this has really taken over my life and I don't know how to break the obsession. My doctor has me on blood pressure medicine and acted like I shouldn't take medication for anxiety. Maybe I should see a therapist...

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  • Posted

    I have all sorts of crazy vision issues similar to yours that I believe are directly linked to anxiety. Sucks doesn't it. Just because we know what causes is doesn't make it go away. Only thing that will make it go away is better dealing with our anxiety and time.

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  • Posted

    I get the same things as you. When it first started I got tons of floaters. More in one eye than the other. Then as time went on the focus issue. There are days when it's hard to even focus on people's faces. I obsess on them as well. I close one eye and then the other to compare. Of course always different. It has been almost 8 months now. My eye doctor says my eyes are fine and my GP believes it is anxiety and will go away.

    Hard to believe it is all anxiety.

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    • Posted

      I do the same as well. I'll close one eye because it seems to diminish some of the floaters. I'll look up and down over and over again to try to get them out of the way or just watch them(even though I hate looking at them)

      There definitely seems to be a correlation between high anxiety + the onset of floaters. What I don't get is how. How could anxiety deteriorate your vitreous? And cause something permanent too? My visual snow’s getting worse and like no doctor’s even know what that is. Having a reaaally bad eye day today ughhh

       

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  • Posted

    Naranja

     I started having floaters in my 20s. Back then we didn't have a forum like this and I felt completely alone and scared. I also had severe anxiety with many symptoms. I thought I had a horrible disease but all my test came out normal.    The neurologist told me I'm fine and just to ignore the floaters.  Just to let you know I am now in my 50s and I still get occasional  floaters and yes when I look at the sky I definitely see them. They are harmless as long as the rest of your health checks out fine. 

    And yes they can be related to stress and anxiety it's weird but they can. So please try to relax and don't worry so much about it. Just get your yearly physical and Eye exams and if those are OK you're good to go!😁

     

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  • Posted

    I went to the docs. She said you become hyperaware of normal bodily functions, it also plays tricks on your eyes. As for the visual snow. It's very rare. It's more of a point that you've read up about it and then you've noticed it. Anxiety heightens it because of adrenalin and had been linked due to anxiety. When I had a panick attack a few weeks ago when I was in bed after hearing a buzzing in my ear I opened my eyes and the room was white and covered in dots. I sat and breathed for 20 minutes and calmed my self down and then opened my eyes and it was gone. As for after images. Every one gets them to some extent, anxiety makes you aware and look out for these things though. Again with the hyperawareness. Your body is looking for the things you've gotten scared of before thus it's in a semi form of the fight or flight response. I never had issues before with my eyes. Although I did need glasses because I was short sighted. I stopped smoking weed and got anxiety. The noticed this stuff once and that was me set into a spiral of obsessions about it. The best thing I can say for you to do is accept them. Just allow them to be and don't give them a negative response. Because that will keep continuing the cycle. It's hard at first and it will be something you need to train yourself to do. Eventually you will stop noticing these things as you become less scared of it.

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    • Posted

      This was really helpful and reassuring. I can almost say with certainty that my eye floater awareness was brought on by a severe episode of panic and anxiety. I am sure the eye floaters were there the whole time but I never noticed. 

      Just recently, I was working out and thought I saw a new floater so I freaked out and looked for it... for like 2 minutes. Moving my eyes back and forth and up and down. Finally saw it and now I can’t unsee it. I’m working on not having a negative response to it but it’s difficult as it’s almost always in my line of vision. 

      That being said, I think that therapy helps. Working out helps. Giving the floater a bit of attention and saying, “okay, I see you. Now I’m going to focus on something else” is helpful. I’m still struggling but I see the correlation. 

      For the original poster, did you see this get better over time? 

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  • Posted

    I have noticed that I have more light sensitivity and sometimes colors out of the corner of my eye or seemingly left over from focusing on something. More common when driving and its dark out (lights from cars). Also in the office with the bright fluorescents. I am pretty sure this is related to the fight or flight stress response. If you look up vision and anxiety, there are tons of pages detailing just that. My Nurse Practitioner is not convinced that anxiety can cause visual issues but the only time I ever had a "floater" which was a fuzzy image in right eye that formed a half moon shape was during my worst panic attack at work. The image disappeared right when my panic attack improved. I think that's more than a simple correlation. I have had a brain and neck MRI/MRA with no issues. Eye doctor said all is well. My left pupil dilates slightly more than right but this is congenital since I've noticed it in old pics. I've noticed the vision issues since switching from celexa to effexor and my anxiety is not completely down since I'm still adjusting. I would suggest finding a therapist or psychologist to talk to about CBT or treatment for anxiety. I do therapy, take effexor, started yoga, go to acupuncture occasionally. I would recommend yoga as a way to improve anxiety most definitely.

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  • Posted

    I believe it does have to do with anxiety. I went thru this 2 years ago when I got anxiety. I was working on a computer that I could barely see. I had to bring the dimn it the lowest. My vision was way to sensitive and saw many floaters when I stepped outside. I went to the eye doctor and they said my eyes are fine. Floaters go away once ur eyes are seen to many bright things. But they went away once I flushed all my anxiety away. This year I got my anxiety thinking I was gonna have a heart attack after one of my coworkers got one. Well my vision sensitivity cake back and floaters followed it. So yes. I recommend to meditate and be able yo control ur anxiety. I also recommend to read the power of your subconscious mind. It has helped me get rid of my anxiety and I'm happier than ever. God bless.

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  • Posted

    Hi I am 32 years old male from India ... I am suffering from vision problems since last 3 months ... I was also facing chronic anxiety before 2 months when I developed eye problems ... I got floaters in my both eyes ... I see after images ... Decreased night vision ... Sudden distorted vision in right eye ... Difficulty in reading small text books

    Focusing problem and photo sensitivity

    I went to 11 different opthamalogists including retina specialists and neurologist everybody says my eyes are perfect and healthy but I don't know what's this?

    I also went to psychiatrist also

    I am too much worried what happened wrong with my eyes

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