Ocular vasoconstriction

What Is Ocular Vasoconstriction?

Ocular vasoconstriction is a process in which the eye's blood vessels constrict, reducing the flow of blood to the eyes. It is one of the body's protective mechanisms, and is often caused by exposure to bright light, abrupt temperature change, or other environmental stressors. Vasoconstriction within the eyes helps to reduce the level of intraocular pressure, thereby preventing potential damage to the eye itself.

What Causes Ocular Vasoconstriction?

Typically, ocular vasoconstriction is caused by exposure to bright light, cold temperatures, and other environmental stressors. Bright light causes the eyes to constrict in order to reduce the amount of light that reaches the eyes. This helps to protect the eyes from overexposure to light, which can cause pain and damage to the eyeballs. Cold temperatures can cause the eyes to constrict in order to reduce the amount of heat that escapes from the eyes, thus keeping them warm and comfortable.

The Effects of Ocular Vasoconstriction

The effects of ocular vasoconstriction are primarily protective in nature, as the reduced blood flow helps to reduce the intraocular pressure within the eye. It can also cause a temporary decrease in vision clarity, as the eyes are deprived of the normal amount of blood flow. In addition, ocular vasoconstriction can lead to headaches and eye fatigue if intense exposure to light or cold temperatures is sustained for long periods of time.

Treating Ocular Vasoconstriction

The treatment of ocular vasoconstriction depends on its causes. If the symptoms of vasoconstriction are caused by exposure to bright light, the patient should reduce the amount of light to which their eyes are exposed. If the symptoms are caused by cold temperature exposure, then the patient should wear sunglasses and a hat to protect their eyes from the cold. In either case, the patient should rest in a dark room until the symptoms subside.

Complications of Ocular Vasoconstriction

Ocular vasoconstriction, while protective in most cases, can cause some serious complications when present for extended periods of time. These complications include:

  • Retinal hypertensive crisis
  • Compressed optic nerve
  • Complications with contact lenses
  • Elevated intraocular pressure
  • Headache
  • Vision impairment


Ocular vasoconstriction is a protective process in which the eyes' blood vessels constrict in order to protect them from overexposure to bright light or cold temperatures. In most cases, ocular vasoconstriction is not dangerous, and can be easily relieved by reducing one's exposure to bright light or cold temperatures. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to seek medical care, as Vasoconstriction can cause serious complications if present for extended periods of time.