Eye Floaters and Anxiety
One of the more obscure symptoms of anxiety is the presence of eye floaters. Eye floaters are small, particle-like objects that seem to float around at the forefront of vision. These objects can vary in size, shape, clarity and brightness. Some people complain of bright, flashing dots that swirl and float across the eye when trying to focus on something. Eye floaters can appear as shapes in the form of threads, wiggly lines, noose-like objects, dots and blotches. They are particularly noticeable when focusing on a blank canvas background, such as a blue sky or bright wallpaper.
Eye floaters are small bits of debris that have broken off from the eye’s vitreous and have began ‘floating’ within the body of the eye. The different shapes that we see are actually shadows of this debris being cast onto the retina.
Many people have eye floaters, but they are particularly common in people suffering from anxiety or a panic disorder. In most instances, eye floaters are not dangerous and are mostly seen as a nuisance for the person who has to live with them. Unfortunately, these is limited treatment for eye floaters, but the prominence of them decreases as the person’s anxiety is treated. If your eye floaters are worrying you an excessive amount, then you should go to your doctor for a quick check up.
“I used to get really panicky whenever I noticed my eye floaters. I’d often conclude that they were a symptom of a really serious eye condition. My optician and doctor told me that everything was fine and they just naturally occur with age. When I tackled my anxiety condition, I recognized that the floaters weren’t as noticeable as when I was anxious. I feel fine with them now.” Client, The Panic Room
High amounts of stress and anxiety have been linked to the onset of floaters, as well as the heightened sense of perception that comes with a panic disorder. Here at The Panic Room we work with people who are afflicted with eye floaters and work with the perception of them so the fear response it can induce is halted. In many cases, eye floaters are used as a thelpful tool that signals when we are entering a stage of anxious vulnerability.
When the body has been subjected to prolonged anxiety – or panic disorder – the nervous system becomes over-stimulated, causing the person to become hypersensitive to changes in themselves and their surroundings. As mentioned before, most people will experience eye floaters in their lives and in a lot of cases they go unnoticed. However, the anxious person often finds themselves in a state of hypersensitivity where they are prone to noticing change. In the case of eye floaters, they become more noticeable because of this hypersensitivity. When anxiety as a whole is treated, the presence of eye floaters becomes less noticeable, to the point where they are often not noticed at all.
“Instead of worrying about them, I actually see my eye floaters as ‘warning dots’ that alert me to my current state of sensitivity. I find them really useful as they tell me that I have entered a period where I am prone to anxious thoughts. On these occasions I make an extra effort to challenge these thoughts. I am also not surprised when the symptoms of anxiety creep up on me during this period – the eye floaters warned me that it was coming. They told me I was hypersensitive.” Client, The Panic Room
Eye floaters are a very common symptom of anxiety and, in most cases, should not be worried about. To explore more symptoms of anxiety then please check The Symptoms of Anxiety page.
If you wish to talk to someone about your eye floaters, or about other aspects of your anxiety then why not contact The Panic Room counselling service? Appointments are available at the practice or via telephone counselling.