Can Glaucoma Be Caused by Stress?

Glaucoma is a slow progressive disease of the eye in which the optic nerve is damaged. It is characterized by the rise in pressure of the fluid inside the eye. Old people are more affected by Glaucoma. It leads to poor night vision, glare and decreased contrast sensitivity. Its causes can be inherited or acquired. It can be easily detected during a regular non-invasive eye examination. If it is not treated well, it can cause a gradual loss of eyesight.

Can Glaucoma Be Caused by Stress?

Can Glaucoma Be Caused By Stress?

Yes, glaucoma can be caused by stress. Stress can play important role in the elevation of the intraocular pressure of glaucoma. Stress disturbs the amount of blood flow in the body by reducing the amount of blood and causing opposite flow of venous blood in the head. This back flow of blood to the head reduces the ability of the eye to circulate fluids; this increases the pressure in the fluid.

Some researchers reveal that patients with anxiety or depression have higher incidences of glaucoma. The rise in blood pressure is triggered by stress in your life that leads to a rise in intraocular pressure in eyes.

The impact of stress on the optic nerve is not known. One more reason of glaucoma can be reduced back flow of blood to the retina and optic nerve resulting in the death of retinal nerve cell and gradual loss of vision. Regular exercises, yoga and meditation can reduce stress.

Glaucoma remains undiagnosed in many cases until the symptoms are advanced. Glaucoma is resulted due to damage to the optic nerve. There is an increase in intraocular pressure of the eye resulted from an increase in the aqueous humor. Aqueous humor is the fluid circulating in the chamber of eye present in between the cornea and the lens.

The fluid flows out of the eye through drainage angle formed in the anterior chamber in between the iris and peripheral cornea. The fluid also drains through the sclera or white part of the eye and to the veins outside the eye. Any blockage in the drainage of this fluid caused due to various reasons will result in the increase in intraocular pressure.

There are two types of glaucoma-

Open-angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is characterized by an increase in angle of iris and cornea more than normal. The drainage canals to the eye are blocked over time, resulting in the increase in the internal pressure of the eye. This increased pressure damages the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is very common and it takes years to develop without noticeable loss of vision.

Acute Angle-closure Glaucoma

It is also known as narrow-angle glaucoma. The angle between iris and cornea get closed, resulting in a rise in pressure inside eyes, thereby causing damage to optic nerves leading to vision loss. The early signs of this type glaucoma are realized by the symptoms like a sudden headache, hazy vision, the appearance of rainbow-colored circles around the bright lights, vomiting, nausea and sudden loss of eyesight.

The causes of the rise in intraocular pressure in Glaucoma can be primary or secondary.

The Primary cause is unknown and secondary cause can be blunt injury or chemical injury to eyes tumor, advanced cataract, hypothyroidism or inflammatory conditions

The risk factors for glaucoma are-

  • Old age is the commonest risk factor to get glaucoma.
  • African, Asian or Caribbean people are prone to develop the condition.
  • People with a Positive family history of glaucoma are at highest risk to develop the glaucoma condition.
  • Medical conditions like long sightedness, short sightedness, and diabetes can result in glaucoma.


Glaucoma is caused by the increase in the pressure exerted by the fluid on the eyes. This can damage the optic nerve supply. Stress can play an important role in the elevation of the intraocular pressure of eyes. Scientists have found that stress can trigger both acute closed-angle glaucoma and open-angle glaucoma. Relaxation of mind is the best way to manage stress.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 17, 2022

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