They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. While this may be true, they can also be used to inform you about your overall health. Not a lot of people might know this, but the eyes are often the first among our organs to be examined by physicians who are looking for something amiss about our health. If you’re just as curious as these doctors who look at our eyes for signs of illnesses, then you can continue on reading.
Individuals can use their eyes to find out whether they have a medical condition, from minor illnesses to more serious, chronic diseases such as diabetes and AIDS. You can ask any Arizona ophthalmologist about the link between the eyes and the rest of the body on your next appointment. Meanwhile, here are five things that you can learn about your health by looking at your eyes.
If you have bulging eyes, otherwise known as exophthalmos, then it can be a sign that you have Grave’s disease. Having such a disease means you have an overactive thyroid, which causes one or both of your eyes bulging out of their normal position. Individuals with Grave’s disease usually experience irregular pulse at a rapid rate, alongside weight loss and nervousness.
There are also other diseases that have an effect on the thyroid, which may lead to bulging eyes. An overactive thyroid is known to show signs of puffiness or swelling in the eyes, not to mention the bulging eyeballs.
Cloudy Eyes (Cataracts)
When you start developing cloudy eyes, it probably means you have a cataract. Your lens become clouded, affecting your vision in either or both of your eyes. Older people are at a higher risk for developing cataracts, according to the United States National Institutes of Health. In fact, over half of all Americans have undergone cataract surgery by the time they reach the 80 years.
Cataracts are tiny clumps of protein that block a portion of the lens. They blur vision, making it difficult for people with the eye disease to see shapes and details. Once the clouded part of the lens continues to form, it reduces the light that goes to the retina. Vision will become more blurry and become tinted brown. Although cataracts are a sign of aging, it is still possible for 40 to 50 year olds to develop them.
People experience having bloodshot eyes almost all the time, whether it is because they drank too much or lack adequate rest. In these cases, such a condition is quite common as they are only caused when blood vessels that are in the surface of the white portion (sclera) of the eyes become swollen. They can be caused by various factors, such as sun exposure, dust, allergies, dry air, or a foreign object getting caught in the eye. It may also be a sign of stress or fatigue.
Bloodshot eyes, although most often are harmless, they can signify something worse. If red eyes is accompanied by symptoms such as pain, itching, or discharge, it could mean blepharitis. Blepharitis is an eye condition where the eyelash is swollen. Other conditions include corneal ulcers (uveitis).
If one of your pupils is larger than the other, there is no cause for instant panic. However, there is about 20 percent of the population that has anisocoria, a condition that involves having unequal pupils. It could also be a sign of something much more serious, like Horner’s syndrome, which is a combination of drooping eyelids and anisocoria. Horner’s syndrome can be the sign of a tumor in the neck or chest, and should receive medical attention as soon as possible.
One of the remarkable things about our eyes is that they can sometimes show doctors when patients are infected with HIV, or have other chronic diseases like cancer. If not treated properly, HIV/AIDS can lead to serious eye diseases like retinitis — which is the inflammation of the retina, and can lead to blindness. Early symptoms of retinitis include blurred vision, tiny black specks in your line of sight, a blind spot, and flashes of bright lights in your eyes.
Patients with diabetes may also experience eye complications due to the chronic disease. People with diabetes have a higher chance of developing blindness as well as a 40 percent higher risk of getting glaucoma, or a build-up of pressure in the eye that leads to lost vision and nerve damage. Diabetes is also notorious for causes retina problems, or retinopathy, such as nonproliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy.