The Connection Between Anxiety and Dry Eyes Disease

by | Dec 13, 2022 | Eye Health

The Connection Between Anxiety and Dry Eyes Disease

Dry eye disease is a common disease that can impair the quality of one’s life significantly. Its prevalence multiplies with advancing age, stress, anxiety. The economic burden of the disease on both a patient and society can increase. The diagnosis and treatment of dry eye disease are often difficult due to the discordance between symptoms and signs of the disease.

In this article, we will look at the connection between a mental state of anxiety and dry eye disease.

Connection Between Anxiety and Dry Eyes Disease

Dry eye disease is seen as one of the most common ophthalmologic disorders. It is connected or associated with symptoms like ocular discomfort, pain, dryness and foreign body sensation, which can impair the quality of life for millions of people globally. In terms of economic burden, dry eye disease has become a significant public health problem.

Below are some of the findings that exist between anxiety and dry eyes disease


  • Researchers have revealed that there is a connection between anxiety and dry eye disease in patients with normal or mildly reduced tear production. It also revealed that subjects with dry eyes disease showed an increased risk of experiencing severe psychological anxiety.
  • The scores of the psychological questionnaires, which include Shortened Health Anxiety Inventory, Shortened Beck Depression Inventory, and Beck Anxiety Inventory, had a significant correlation with the ocular surface disease index score, whereas there is no significant relationship between dry eye signs and symptoms.
  • The anxiety usually affects the development of dry eye symptoms and is one of the causes of the inconsistency between symptoms and signs of dry eyes disease. Dry eyes disease is associated with higher symptom scores of anxiety, as well as with an increased prevalence of the psychiatric conditions. Among the dry eye disease patients, the severity and prevalence of anxiety are high among patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome.
  • Regarding the connection between dry eyes disease and anxiety, several mechanisms play a significant role. A clear finding shows that anxiety status usually influences the connection between dry eyes disease and Val66Met single-nucleotide polymorphism in a brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
  • Anxiety also lowers the threshold for perception of pain or discomfort caused by dry eyes disease by affecting cognitive modulation of attention.
  • Somatization, a frequently reported condition in anxiety, usually lead to predispose in the development of dry eye disease. Conversely, dry eye disease, including chronic discomfort and visual impairment also worsen anxiety mood.
  • Anxiety lowers the threshold for perception of pain or discomfort caused by dry eyes disease by affecting cognitive modulation of attention.



The first step is to seek professional advice from your gp or healthcare practitioner if you feel that your eye problems are stress-related, probably the most obvious step to take is to try to relax. Think about your symptoms as warning signs—your body is trying to respond to a threat, and it’s hurting you. The best thing to do is to try to calm down your brain’s response to danger.

You probably are familiar with what can de-stresses you better than anyone else. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Taking a warm relaxing bath and focusing on merely letting go and relaxing
  • Meditation. Proven to de-stress and relax oneself.
  • Taking slow, deep rejuvenating breaths, sending the air into your belly.
  • Write your feelings into a diary to keep track of your stress levels.
  • Exercise has been proven to pump the body, then allowing it to relax afterwards.

As always, you’ll feel better if you make sure to get enough sleep and eat well. Even though you’re busy, taking at least a few minutes to relax, consciously will help your body calm down.

If you feel stressed or worried most of the time, you may need to make more significant changes. You may be trying to do too much in too little time and need to cut back. Alternatively, you may have an anxiety disorder, which is highly treatable. If you always feel like you’re on edge, it might be time to speak with a doctor or counsellor to make sure that you’re emotionally and physically healthy.

When you have found your own way to deal with stress, you may find that your eyes should revert to a healthy state. Stress-related eye issues should be temporary and relatively easy to fix. If you, however, continue to have problems, make sure to visit your specialist eye doctor. Our Specialist Ophthalmologist here at The Dry Eye Clinic is ready to assist you so that your eyes are as comfortable as possible. To Book a session with us click this link

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