Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about stress-related eye problems.

Too much stress may result in health problems like depression, agitation, sleep disorders, heart disease and eating disorders. It may also lead to an eye condition like Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR). Such an eye condition usually occurs when one is living with consistently high levels of stress.

Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR) is a condition when there is a collection of fluid in the central part of the back of the eye (macula area). This swelling at the back of the eye (macula area) affects vision.

FEATURES

A person who suffers from CSR may have several different types of visual disturbances as follows:

  • Central blurring vision or dull vision in the centre of the visual field.
  • Seeing wavy or distorted lines – where straight lines may appear crooked.
  • Seeing images bigger or smaller than they actually are.
  • Colours may appear “washed-out” or dull.

A dilated pupil examination will easily show the swelling in the back part of the eye (see adjacent picture). An OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) Scan done, will confirm the swollen macula (central part of the back of the eye).

TREATMENT

The patients are usually advised to de-stress although this may be difficult for many. Learning how to set aside time to relax, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and getting sufficient rest will help. When the CSR is prolonged showing no sign of resolution, argon laser photocoagulation treatment may be given to reduce the fluid leakage or swelling of the macula (back of the eye).

PROGNOSIS

In most cases, CSR will generally clear in a few weeks to a month and the patient recovers fully without any permanent loss of vision. In some patients, there may be residual loss of contrast sensitivity making the night vision somewhat affected. In rare instances, however, the condition may be prolonged up to even one year or the patient may suffer repeated episodes of swelling of the macula. Such repeated episodes almost always leave some permanent loss of vision or contrast sensitivity.

SOME POINTERS

Learning how to handle the stresses of life can be more important than most of us would think. If you are undergoing undue stress, learn to recognise it and take measures to handle it. Always seek professional help if you are unable to de-stress effectively.