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    Can Psychological Stress Cause Vision Loss?



    Summary: Researchers report persistent psychological stress can contribute to the development and progression of vision loss.

    Source: EPMA Journal.

    A study found that the condition’s onset and progression are significantly influenced by persistent psychological stress, linked to vision loss. The clinical implications of this finding include recommendations to improve clinical relationships with patients as well as to provide antidepressant medications and psychological counseling to disrupt the vicious cycle of depression and ongoing vision loss.

    Psychological stress

    Research on relationship between stress and ophthalmologic illnesses, based on thorough review of hundreds of clinical reports and published studies. Other case reports were presented showing how stress causes vision loss and how stress reduction contributes to vision recovery.

    Prolonged stress and elevated cortisol levels adversely affect the eye and brain due to the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic) imbalance and vascular deregulation. Emphasizing that both eye and brain are involved in vision loss. A fact often overlooked by medical professionals and unregistered in the medical literature.

    The behavior and words of the treating physician can have far-reaching effects on the diagnosis of vision loss. Many patients are told that the disease is poor and should be prepared to be blind one day. Although this is far from certain, complete blindness almost never occurs. The ensuing fears and anxieties are a double-edged mental and psychological burden with physical consequences that often exacerbate the condition.

    Researchers believe that this approach could be used more effectively in the clinical management of eye diseases. They suggest that stress reduction and relaxation techniques (e.g., meditation, autogenic training, stress management training, and psychotherapy to learn to deal with them) should be recommended, not only as a complement to traditional treatment for vision loss, but as possible as preventative measures to reduce progression of loss of vision. Secondly, physicians should do their best to instill hope and optimism while providing their patients with the information they need, especially about the important value of stress reduction.

    Published by: EPMA Journal

    References: Bernhard Sabel, PhD, Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Magdeburg University, Germany.

    Details: Image source istock

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