What Your Eyes Say About Your General Health

What Your Eyes Say About Your General Health

They are more than just windows to your soul. The eyes are a means by which doctors can get an early warning of any number of health problems. This is why improving vision is not the only reason to have your eyes examined.

Checking for Cardiovascular Problems

In the search for clues about overall health, ophthalmologists can detect the early signs of difficulty. The reason is the ability to easily examine blood vessels. The eye is an area where warning signals about high blood pressure and diabetes are noticed quickly. The same is true for conditions leading to stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Investigation into general health does not end there. Eyes can give a clue to changes in the health of a person’s brain. The optic nerve can be an indicator of brain tumors or multiple sclerosis. Changes in the blood vessels of the eye will warn of atherosclerotic disease.

Health Detectors

It is fairly amazing what your eyes can tell about your health. Some conditions you don’t even notice or warning signals that an ophthalmologist can easily detect:

  • Protruding eyes: This could be evidence of thyroid problems. Difficulty with the thyroid hormones may cause tissue around the eye to swell, and give the appearance of protruding eyes.
  • Eyelids that droop: This can hint at the presence of myasthenia gravis (MG), which is known to weaken body muscles. Drooping eyelids are also indicators of Horner’s Syndrome, which is associated with neck tumors.
  • Rings on the eye’s cornea: Wilson’s disease is a hereditary condition. Rings on the cornea can detect this disease, which is fatal if not treated.
  • Eyelids that are thick: Another hereditary condition, neurofibromatosis, can be found in an eye examination. This disorder causes tumors to develop along nerve fibers.
  • Eyes with yellow color: Can indicate any number of liver conditions.
  • Defects in the retina: This can note a presence of AIDS in the patient.
  • Cloudy Eyes: These are not just cataracts but also indicators of possible diabetes and tumors.
  • Eyelid sores: These can be signs of skin cancer.
  • Flashing Lights: An indication of migraines.
  • Sunrise Syndrome: This affects the tissue controlling the crystalline lens. It also hints of the presence of Marfan’s Syndrome.
  • Metastatic Cancer: This happens in the eye but can alert a doctor to the existence of lung cancer in men. It can also note breast cancer in women.
  • Double Vision: This can be a sign of nerve damage.
  • Pale Eyelids: You could be anemic and need iron.

The above suggests the eye is a powerful diagnostic tool. This part of your body uncovers secrets that would ordinarily require invasive examinations. The warnings can come as a surprise to anyone who believes themselves to be in perfect health.

These all point to the necessity of getting comprehensive eye examinations. The procedure is clearly not just for the sake of checking on eyestrain or perhaps a new prescription for glasses. You can easily argue that an eye examination is as important as a general physical. This is a medical procedure which has to be scheduled on a routine basis.

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Timing of the Eye Exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offer some guidance about the timing of eye examinations. Everyone should have a full eye examination every 5 to 10 years if he or she happens to be under 40 years old. Naturally, the timing of these examinations has to be more often as an individual gets older. It is smart idea to adhere to the following time table:

  • What Your Eyes Say About Your General Health40 to 54 years old, an examination every two years with four years being the maximum interval between exams;
  • 55 to 64 years old, examination every year with three years being the maximum interval between exams;
  • 65 years and older, examination every year with two years being the maximum interval between exams.

Examinations of course take a look at vision problems. Glaucoma and cataracts can be easily treated when detected early. Nobody really enjoys going to the doctor; everyone is afraid that what will get bad news, leading to large medical bills. If that is your concern then you need to remember what is being done in an eye examination.

A serious problem may be discovered. Doctors will say without hesitation that early-stage treatment is the most successful. Frankly, it is also the least expensive. You will pay for an eye examination but you may end up saving a fair amount of money as a consequence of this precaution.

Eye Care and Better Health

When you take better care of your eyes, you are actually helping your general health at the same time. For example, staying inside on bright, sunny days to avoid eye harming ultra violet light protects your body from skin cancer. Foods that are consumed to promote eye health have antioxidants, which also protect other parts of the body.

There are more than a few connections between good eye health and the status of your overall physical condition. We are encouraged by medical professionals to take vitamins and minerals. The multivitamins taken for the eyes will also help the skin and the cardiovascular system. You will notice that your health improves with better attention to your eyes.

Make the Vision Exam a Priority

People get busy and often forget about their health. Those few pounds they should lose are ignored, and they’ll tend to eat what’s convenient rather than what’s healthy, or forget to schedule physical examinations.

But, a little eye exam can help monitor your overall physical condition. The eyes don’t lie when it comes to telling the state of your health. An eye examination doesn’t really take too much time out of your busy day, and vision insurance can help cover all or most of the cost. Really, you can’t afford to keep missing these appointments!

About the Author

Avatar for Tyler Sorensen

Tyler Sorensen is the President and CEO of Rebuild Your Vision. Formerly, Tyler studied Aeronautics with the dreams of becoming an airline pilot, however, after 9/11 his career path changed. After graduating top of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informational Technologies and Administrative Management, he and his brother decided to start Rebuild Your Vision in 2002. With the guidance of many eye care professionals, including Behavioral Optometrists, Optometrists (O.D.), and Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.), Tyler has spent over a decade studying the inner workings of the eye and conducting research.

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