New Hope for Patients With Vision Loss at SAVIR-Center for Vision Restoration
New Report Demonstrates that a Holistic Treatment Approach Can Interrupt the Vicious Cycle of Stress and Progressive Blindness
MAGDEBURG, Germany, Oct. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Persistent psychological stress, which is widely recognized as a consequence of vision loss, is also a major contributor to its development and progression, according to a study published in the EPMA Journal, the official journal of the European Association for Predictive, Preventive, and Personalized Medicine. Clinical practice implications of this finding include a recommendation to improve the clinician-patient relationship and provide stress-reduction treatments and psychological counseling to interrupt the vicious cycle of stress and progressive vision loss.
"There is clear evidence of a psychosomatic component to vision loss, as stress is an important cause − not just a consequence − of progressive vision loss resulting from diseases such as glaucoma, optic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration," says Prof. Bernhard Sabel, PhD, Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Magdeburg University, Germany, lead investigator of the study. Prof. Sabel has pioneered a holistic treatment approach that combines stress management, patient education, and vision recovery and restoration techniques at the SAVIR-Center for Vision Restoration in Germany.
The study, which was presented at the 5th International Conference of "Low Vision and Brain" in Berlin, is based on a comprehensive analysis of hundreds of published research and clinical reports on the relationship of stress and ophthalmologic diseases. "Continuous stress and elevated cortisol levels negatively impact the eye and brain due to autonomic nervous system (sympathetic) imbalance and vascular deregulation," Prof. Sabel explains, emphasizing that both the eye and the brain are involved in vision loss, a fact that is often overlooked by treating physicians and is not systematically documented in the medical literature. He notes that of the relatively few scientific reports in the field of psychosomatic ophthalmology available, even fewer explore the relationship of stress, vision loss, and vision restoration.