This Is What Happens To Your Eyes When You Have An Adrenaline Rush

Bungee jumping, hang gliding, or venturing through a haunted house attraction can all kickstart the body's fight-or-flight response. While it may initially feel scary, being in fight-or-flight mode prepares you for potential danger by boosting your physical strength, mental clarity, and suppressing the perception of pain — all very useful skills that benefited our ancestors, who often came face-to-face with hungry predators (via Medical News Today).

Otherwise known as an adrenaline rush, adrenaline gets dispersed into our blood from our adrenal glands in order to activate our fight-or-flight reaction. Almost instantly, our heart rate accelerates, our energy spikes, blood flow is redirected towards our muscles, and much more. On the surface, this all sounds like something out of a Marvel movie. But those aren't the only superpowers we acquire when our body is flooded with adrenaline. Our vision also becomes enhanced, allowing us to better take in our surroundings. Here's how.

Your pupils dilate during an adrenaline rush

In the midst of an adrenaline rush, our pupils grow in size or become dilated, explains the Cleveland Clinic. Medically referred to as mydriasis, when our pupils are dilated, the eyes take in greater amounts of light. This allows you to see better and best defend yourself against a perceived threat. Similar to stress, anger can also prompt pupil dilation when fueled by an adrenaline rush, according to Ultralase. When dilated, our pupils become larger than our iris, or the ring of color in your eye. This can make a person look even more intimidating in the heat of the moment.

However, you don't have to be boiling over with rage or go out and face your fear of skydiving for this kind of bodily reaction to occur. Even mildly frustrating emotional states can cause our pupils to dilate, such as when engaged in a cognitively demanding task. Scientific American reports how psychologist Daniel Kahneman discovered through research that as the difficulty of a math problem escalates, participant pupil size also grows.

When adrenaline may cause vision problems

An adrenaline rush is usually just that: a temporary rush. While medications, injuries, or eye drops administered by your eye doctor may cause your pupils to remain dilated for longer periods of time, pupil dilation related to an emotionally-fueled adrenaline rush is usually short-lived. So much so that this dilation may last only a few minutes (via Cleveland Clinic).

For those who experience chronic stress or anxiety, however, all that adrenaline pumping through the body each and every day can put added pressure on the eyes, potentially leading to ongoing eye strain, according to experts at Fleet Street. These individuals may experience blurry vision, eye twitching, eye floaters, photophobia, or headaches, amongst other symptoms. In this event, be sure to speak with your eye doctor. Additionally, try regularly implementing stress-management techniques that can help keep adrenaline levels low. This may include journaling, walking, eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of sleep.