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Research on how moods affect eye pressure

Submitted by dave on Sat, 12/18/2010 - 1:16pm

In an upcoming version of the FitEyes Insight software I hope to provide a very easy way to track moods along with eye pressure measurements. In preparation for that, I am working on a list of moods.

If those of us monitoring our own eye pressure at home want to correlate our moods with changes in our IOP, we will need some standardized definitions of moods.

I would appreciate any feedback on the following rough draft of a mood list. I don't want the list to be much longer than it is, but I welcome any edits, suggestions, substitutions, changes, etc. Informal suggestions are welcome. So are suggestions from those with formal training and experience in this area. (I lack both.)

If you feel there is a mood that affects your IOP, please list that mood (and define/elaborate it as I have done in these examples).

  • afraid ("feeling scared, afraid, frightened")
  • ambitious ("feeling a strong desire for success or achievement")
  • anxious ("feeling nervous, anxious, jittery, jumpy")
  • ashamed ("feeling bristled, offended, outraged, angry")
  • blissful ("feeling joyous, blissful, happy for no reason")
  • carefree ("no cares, no concerns, free, relaxed, at peace")
  • determined ("gearing up, raising intensity, getting ready to meet a challenge imposed upon you")
  • distracted ("feeling distracted, unfocused, mind is over-active")
  • distressed ("feeling uptight, distressed, uncomfortable, pressured")
  • empowered ("feeling empowered, powerful, capable, confident, relaxed")
  • engaged ("feeling engaged, mind is quiet or calm, in the present moment, not distracted")
  • excited ("feeling anticipation, excitement, looking forward to a good outcome")
  • free ("no obligations, no burdens, no restrictions, completely free")
  • guilty ("feeling ashamed, guilty, blameworthy, filthy")
  • happy ("feeling unburdened, happy due to positive circumstances")
  • hostile ("feeling hostile, mad, ready to fight against something or someone")
  • inspired ("feeling inspired")
  • irritable ("feeling irritated, grouchy, crabby, cross, bilious")
  • nervous ("feeling bothered, disturbed, put off, uncomfortable")
  • optimistic ("feeling contented, optimistic, trusting, no concerns")
  • overwhelmed ("feeling burdened, overwhelmed, pressured, too much to do in too little time")
  • sad ("feeling sad, depressed")
  • stalwart ("dealing with enduring hardships, not showing weakness or emotions, summoning courage")
  • strained ("worn down from dealing with (excessive) demands or hard work, yet persevering")
  • upset ("feeling upset")

BTW, my list isn't finished, as you see from items like the last one.

If you already have some understanding of how moods affect IOP, you may notice the subtle distinctions I made in the list above. (If you want to catch up with some prior discussions related to this topic, see this link: .)

For example, let's contrast feeling carefree with feeling excited (using my definitions). Someone who partially understands that stress can raise IOP may assume that neither a carefree mood nor an excited mood would raise IOP (because both are "positive" moods and neither is considered stressful). This is usually incorrect. Being carefree will not (in my experience) elevate intraocular pressure. However, being excited will quite often raise eye pressure.

The reason for the differing results in terms of IOP is both very clear and generalizable to any set of two moods we wish to contrast. (It is also supported by psychological understandings that have survived thousands of years in ancients traditions, but that are not necessarily mainstream.) Therefore, in my list, I have been careful to capture these distinct aspects of certain moods (although I have not finished my list). For example, note the distinction between the closely related moods of "feeling determined" and "feeling empowered". If we use my definitions, I would expect that feeling determined will lead to a slow rise in IOP over time, whereas feeling empowered will not. For another example, feeling sad is not expected (in my experience) to raise IOP, but feeling irritable is. (Who recognizes the role of ego in any of this?)

And this also points to the reason why FitEyes needs a proprietary mood list for this research. Normal (mainstream) psychological perspectives don't capture the distinctions I have come to understand from the combination of self-tonometry and Serene Impulse.

BTW, the planned upcoming version of the FitEyes Insight research software will track the durations and intensity of these moods along with eye pressure changes over time. It will also be able to track things like the "end of bottle syndrome" (and, of course, the timing of one's normal use of glaucoma eye drops).

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