Depression is still classified as a mental disorder, but we now know it can also affect your physical health and well-being—vision included. Some studies even link depression to changes in visual perception. As the medical field becomes more knowledgeable on the subject, eye doctors are better able to recognize common vision problems associated with depression in their patients.
Depression and Vision
Clinically depressed individuals or people going through periods of intense stress are more likely to experience the following vision problems:
- Blurred vision: Individuals may experience a lack of sharpness in their vision, preventing them from seeing fine details clearly.
- Light sensitivity: Patients may experience discomfort in daylight without a pair of sunglasses.
- Watery and strained eyes: Some individuals report watery eyes and pain from strained eyes.
- Eye floaters: Patients sometimes report the appearance of spots in their vision.
A Biological Basis for Changes in Visual Perception
Researchers at Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg in Germany conducted a study to determine a possible relationship between depression and visual problems. They instructed groups of depressed and non-depressed individuals to distinguish between colors and contrasts on a series of black-and-white checkboard patterns. They found that those with major depression (regardless of whether they were on medication) were less able to distinguish between black and white colors on the checkboard compared to their non-depressed counterparts.
Based on this study, University of Freiburg researchers suggested that depressed individuals may experience impaired contrast perception—a possible explanation for “seeing the world in gray.”
Can Vision Therapy Help?
Certified developmental optometrists can help patients rule out vision- problems related to depression and develop customized treatment plans. With the proper exercises and appropriate other treatments, patients experiencing discomfort can reclaim their visual function.
Our services aren’t limited to vision therapy: Our team also provides vision efficiency evaluations, neuro-optometric evaluations and rehabilitation, pediatric optometry, and visual processing evaluations and treatment. Our vision therapy services span a range of vision problems, from poor focusing abilities to impaired perceptual skills. If you’re experiencing vision problems related to depression, make an appointment for a complimentary consultation today. We can determine if our clinic is the right fit for your treatment, guiding you along the path to improved visual function.