Why Does Depersonalization Cause Vision Problems?
It’s one of the most commonly reported symptoms of Depersonalization.
I experienced it myself and I hear it from sufferers all the time:
My eyesight is is 'off'
I have blurry vision
My vision is foggy / distorted
I can see visual snow / floaters
Static / Fuzzy Vision
Things appear to move slightly
Things just look ‘strange’
Confusion and Dizziness
I had the very same reaction when I first developed Depersonalization Disorder. Something felt wrong with my eyesight, though I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.
I can still remember going to an optician and getting my eyes re-rested. My theory was that the confusion and dizziness I felt all the time must have been down to some problem with my eyesight, my contact lenses, something to do with my vision.
So I got new prescription contact lenses. I even got new glasses too. But they made no difference whatsoever!
I couldn't understand it. My vision wasn't out of focus or anything, but I was sure there was something wrong with my eyesight. There had to be, right?
Depersonalization and Vision
I kept trying different solutions, glasses, contact prescriptions and nothing made a difference. It was only during my recovery from DP that I realized my eyesight had been fine all along.
So, let’s clear this up once and for all:
No, Depersonalization cannot affect your vision. Your eyesight is just fine.
It can’t cause visual snow, it can’t cause ‘floaters’, and it certainly can’t make you see things that aren’t there.
So why are Depersonalization vision problems it so commonly reported? Well, it’s actually quite simple and in fact, makes a lot of sense!
Effects on the Body
Depersonalization is driven by one thing: anxiety. Scientifically and anecdotally, DP is 100% an anxiety-based condition. And when you have intense and persistent anxiety your body and mind are in ‘fight or flight mode’ constantly.
This means that you are physically and mentally on the lookout for threats, consistently, in your environment.
That produces a number of effects on the body, for example:
Problems with Concentration
... and many more.
Basically, your whole body is on high alert for danger.
Fight or Flight Mode
Now, what’s the body’s best onboard system for detecting danger?
That’s right -- vision.
Your visual system is also on super high alert, all the time. Your pupils are constantly dilated (making them more sensitive to light) and your brain is constantly scanning your visual field for some sort of danger.
In an evolutionary sense, this is really important:
Let’s say you’re living in the jungle a few thousand years ago. You hear a branch snap in the near distance. Suddenly your ‘fight or flight’ mode kicks in, your pupils dilate and you start intensely scanning the trees for danger. It could save your life!
Scanning for Danger
Now try this: imagine that you’re in the present day, sitting in your kitchen, reading a book.
Pretty normal, right?
But because of Depersonalization and anxiety, that ‘fight or flight’ mode is constantly on. Your eyes and visual cortex are scanning for danger -- in the book, in the kitchen -- even though of course, there’s none there.
But that lack of danger doesn’t switch off the anxiety as it should. So the visual scanning for threats continues all day, every day.
What do you think is the result of constant, intense visual scanning happening for days, weeks, months on end?
Overworked and Exhausted
That’s right: the eyes and visual cortex become completely overworked and exhausted.
They try to see danger anywhere and everywhere. That’s why you think you're having vision problems, feeling dizzy, suddenly seeing ‘floaters’, afterimages etc; these are things that you see every day already but you totally ignore in your non-anxious state.
But there's nothing dangerous about them and there's certainly nothing wrong with your vision. Visual snow, static, thinking you’re seeing things move, blurry vision, floaters etc.
You only see them at all because the brain is just looking for something -- anything -- to be the source of the danger.
And as for light sensitivity? That’s because your pupils are dilated (again, fight or flight) and letting in more light than usual.
That’s why supermarkets and malls can be difficult for DPDR sufferers -- not because of the places themselves, but because of the bright fluorescent lighting.
Nothing To Be Afraid Of
So there you have it -- That’s the link between Depersonalization and vision.
There's no danger. You don't have to deal with any actual vision problems.
There’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s just a temporary result of your body’s natural defensive mechanism at work.
And the best news? None of it is permanent.
Once you start to recover, all these 'vision problems' will stop completely along with every other symptom.
Start your recovery from DP today
The Depersonalization Manual is the oldest and most trusted text on Depersonalization recovery available today. Written by a fully recovered sufferer with over 15 years experience of dealing with DP sufferers, it's been the trusted DP recovery program for more than 25,000 people worldwide.