Can stress cause floaters in your eyes


Floaters in the eyes, or vitreous floaters, is a medical condition characterized by seeing small spots or strings of shadow in one’s field of vision. Most people have some form of floaters, as the vitreous humor—the jelly-like substance inside the eyeball—changes with age, as debris and molecules accumulate. Floaters may be caused by a variety of factors such as eyestrain and dry eyes, however research suggests that stress can also be linked to their appearance.

Stress can cause muscles in the body (including those around the eyes) to tighten up and constrict blood vessels, hampering circulation and possibly leading to floaters. Additionally, chronic stress affects neurotransmitters that can influence visual processing in the brain which may result in changes within the eye’s vitreous gel outer lining and cause an increase in floater frequency. Studies indicate that a higher level of cortisol (a hormone released during times of stress) has been associated with more frequent eye floater occurrence.

What are floaters?

Floaters are small specks, spots, or shapes that move in and out of your vision, like flies flying around a room. Floaters are caused by the normal aging process of the eye, but can often be accelerated by prolonged stress. It’s important to understand what floaters are and how they are related to stress in order to appropriately treat them.

Types of floaters

Floaters are tiny spots, known as fodder in the medical field, that appear to float in front of your eyes when looking at bright surfaces. Most floaters are simply deposits of materials within the vitreous fluid inside the eyeball, and they are commonly seen in people over 40 years old. Floaters may look like dark specks, spider webs or other shapes that move as your eye moves.

Floaters can be common and benign, however they can also be indications of more serious issues such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. It is important to have floaters checked by an ophthalmologist to rule out any underlying causes.

There are four main types of floaters:

  1. Muscae volitantes – These are fluid-filled strands that appear as small dots resembling a fly or bug floating around your vision.
  2. Fibrillar – These consist of thick clumps or strings resembling cobwebs with shades of black.
  3. Asteroid Hyalosis – Caused by calcification process within the vitreous humour resulting in a clump-like appearance like scattered flecks if salt or sand grains.
  4. Meteorism – These occur when large bubbles filled with clear gel enter your vitreous humour from injury or aging which gives the illusion that stars burst at night or fireworks light up the sky!

Causes of floaters

Floaters in your vision are small spots, strands, or clouds that float around in your field of vision. These floaters can be caused by a number of things, including stress. When stress causes these floaters, it’s important to learn how to reduce the pressure and eliminate the floaters.

In this article, we will discuss the causes of floaters and how to address them:

Stress as a cause

Floaters are specks in our vision, often seen when looking at a bright, uniform background such as a sky or blank wall. Our eyes contain vitreous gel, which is made of 98% water and 2% molecules – floaters are the shadows cast by this structure on the eyewall. Floaters can occur for many reasons and stress is one of them.

Stress-induced floaters are caused by contractions of the vitreous gel due to sudden increases in heart rate during periods of stress. The increased movement and contraction of the gel can cause it to become stringy and pull away from the retina which will result in seeing small cobwebs or spots in your vision. Stress-induced floaters can appear suddenly and can be quite startling; however they usually resolve on their own once a person relaxes and calms down.

Experiencing stress-induced floaters does not necessarily indicate an underlying eye condition; however, if your symptoms do not improve you should consult with an optometrist for further evaluation. If you have health issues that may cause eye issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it is especially important to consult with an optometrist if you experience any new changes in your vision that could be related to those conditions.

Symptoms of stress-related floaters

It is normal to experience difficulty focusing, blurring, and floaters in your vision from time to time. However, when these conditions become recurrent and more intense, it can be a sign of stress-related eye floaters.

Symptoms of stress-related eye floaters include:

  • Reduced visual acuity or clarity, particularly in dim lighting
  • Flashes of light that appear as stars in your vision
  • Bright circles of color appearing in the field of vision
  • Floaters that are more noticeable with eye movement
  • The sensation that you are seeing “through fog” even when you have glasses that allow clear vision
  • Pain around the eyes and headaches on one side of the head

If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it may be a sign of stress-related eye floaters. It is important to speak with your doctor if these symptoms persist for more than one week or are accompanied by shortness of breath or lack of coordination.

Treatment of stress-related floaters

When stress-related floaters occur, treatment generally involves either making lifestyle changes or learning relaxation techniques to help manage stress. These can include things like:

  • Getting more sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating healthy/balanced meals
  • Avoiding excessive caffeine

Practicing some form of stress-relieving activity such as yoga or meditation may also be helpful. In addition, you should avoid activities that could cause further eye strain (such as prolonged use of electronic devices) and visit your optometrist for a comprehensive exam if you experience any new or worsening symptoms.

In extreme cases where the floaters are causing significant emotional distress and affecting daily activities, some people may turn to anti-anxiety medications or psychotherapy to help manage the physical and mental side effects of stress-related floaters in your eyes. It’s important to talk to a healthcare professional to find the best treatment option for your individual needs.

Prevention of stress-related floaters

Floaters caused by stress can often be prevented if the underlying cause of the stress is addressed. It’s important to get to the root cause of the problem and take steps to reduce it. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Consider talking to a doctor or therapist if you have chronic stress or anxiety. There are many different methods and treatments available that can help you manage your symptoms more effectively.
  2. Exercise regularly. Even moderate regular exercise can help reduce stress levels significantly and has been linked with improved mental health in many studies, including those evidenceing a link between exercise and floaters prevention.
  3. Get adequate sleep every night and make sure your sleep patterns are consistent so your body gets used to going to bed at the same time, waking up at the same time, etc.. This will help you better regulate your moods and energy levels throughout the day so you’re less prone to stress-induced health issues such as floaters in your eyes.
  4. Eat a balanced diet full of nutritious foods, as a poor diet can lead to further stress due to deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals necessary for proper health functioning. Avoid processed food whenever possible, as this type of food generally contains fewer nutrients than fresh or whole foods that can provide energy without leaving you feeling sluggish afterwards.
  5. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine such as deep breathing exercises, meditations or stretching/yoga sessions if possible- these methods have been found effective at reducing cortisol levels and thus managing stress more successfully over time.


In conclusion, although stress can cause some mild physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness and headaches, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it is responsible for the appearance of floaters in your eyes. Floaters can be a symptom of other eye conditions such as vitreous detachment or posterior vitreous detachment, but these conditions are usually associated with aging.

If you experience a sudden onset of floaters, it’s always best to visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist to confirm the cause and receive proper treatment if necessary.