Eyes are the Windows to Your…Health?

by | Oct 27, 2017

Eyes are sometimes called “the windows to the soul.” From a purely practical perspective, this actually has a certain grain of truth to it. Human eyes are remarkably expressive, to the point you can often read a person’s mood just by looking at them.

You might not be aware of this, but eyes should probably also hold the title of “windows into health!”

Now, your eyes might not be able to tell you everything about your physical health, but they can clue you into certain medical issues. Signs of a problem include:

  • Sudden blurry vision – A sudden, dramatic loss of vision is a potential indication of an issue with the blood flow going to your eyes. This also can indicate a problem with blood going to the brain as well.

If you experience an abrupt blurring of vision, it’s important to seek immediate medical assistance. Doing so can prevent serious damage and might even be key to saving your life. Quick recovery should still be evaluated by a medical professional, since the initial issue could be the start of a migraine headache or a warning sign of a stroke.

  • Blurred vision – When blurry vision has a more gradual onset, it can be a sign of diabetes (which causes too much sugar in your blood). If diabetes isn’t managed properly—which entails monitoring and controlling blood sugar levels—you can develop diabetic retinopathy.

In this case, your vision may start to blur (as a result of the tiny blood vessels in your eyes starting to leak blood and other fluids) and you will have difficulty seeing in dim lighting. Treatment for this is sometimes a matter of sealing the leaks and removing unwanted new blood vessels. These might affect your peripheral vision, but could save your central vision.

  • Yellowed eyes – Also affecting skin color, jaundice can make the whites of your eyes look yellow. This is attributed to a liver problem, specifically overproduction of bilirubin (a product the liver produces in greater quantities when it’s damaged or inflamed). Liver damage can be the result of alcohol abuse, infection, cancer, and even poor dietary choices.
  • Ring around the cornea – Corneal arcus causes a gray-white line of fat deposits to grown on the outside edge of the cornea. Sometimes, the deposits form a complete ring around this clear, curved surface on the front of your eye. For older patients, this might not be anything to worry about. For those under the age of 40, however, it can be a sign of dangerously-high cholesterol.
  • Drooping eyelids – Myasthenia gravis is a condition wherein the immune system starts attacking and weakening your muscles. Face, throat, and eye muscles tend to be affected more than other ones throughout the body.
  • Bulging eyes – Graves’ disease causes your thyroid gland to release too many hormones, which can lead to this particular problem. Other symptoms of the disease include hand tremors, diarrhea, and weight loss. Medication or surgery can control the amount of hormones your thyroid produces, but they don’t actually cure the underlying disease – and they might not be able to help your eyes.

Something that might not be as concerning as you might think is a twitching eye. There are rare cases where this is connected to a nervous system issue like multiple sclerosis, but it’s more commonly attributed to smoking, caffeine, alcohol, or simply fatigue.

Whenever you have issues with your eyes, or are experiencing anything out of the ordinary, contact Sight Eye Clinic for an appointment. We can assess the situation and then determine the best possible medical approach to resolve it for you. If you would like additional information—or are ready to schedule your visit—simply give us a call at (616) 772-2020.