When you visit your doctor for your annual physical, you may wonder just how much your doctor can learn by shining a light into your eyes and examining the surrounding tissues. It may surprise you to know that the eyes reveal a great deal about your overall health.
In fact, in comparison with other organs (e.g. skin, mouth, nails) the eyes display symptoms of the greatest percentage of illnesses. The reason for this is that a lot of bodily mechanics are visible within the eye. By looking into your eye, your doctor can see blood vessels working and even see a part of your brain (your optic nerve).
All-in-all, around 30 different conditions can be initially identified through symptoms that can be seen in the eye. This is why optometrists and ophthalmologists are often the first to detect health problems in their patients. In this article, we identify ten common problems with the eyes and surrounding tissues and reveal the conditions they may herald. Read on to learn more.
Sudden Change In Vision
If you suddenly experience dimmed vision, double vision or loss of vision you should get to a doctor quickly. Sudden changes in vision may be early warnings of an impending stroke.
If you have a blind spot in your vision, it could be indicative of an eye injury. If it is accompanied by wavy lines and/or shimmering lights, it might be the harbinger of a migraine headache.
Diabetes Accompanied By Blurred Vision
Many diabetics experience a great deal of trouble with their eyes. In fact, many diabetics lose their vision altogether. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by reduced blood circulation to the eyes. Retinopathy is also a symptom of poor overall blood circulation.
Hypertension And Vision Disturbances
Retinopathy can be a symptom of high blood pressure. Hypertension can cause the optic nerve to swell, and this can cause small aneurysms in eye. This can cause problems such as floaters, blurred vision, loss of vision and/or eye pain.
Computer Related Blurred Vision
Computer Vision Syndrome is common these days as so many people spend a great deal of time staring into a computer screen. If you find that your vision is blurred after spending an extended period of time at the computer, you may be experiencing eye fatigue and eyestrain caused by the struggle of focusing on images that are lacking in contrast. Focusing on pixels is also quite fatiguing for the eyes.
Yellow Discoloration Of The Whites Of Eyes
If the whites of the eye become tinged with yellow, it can be an indication of liver trouble (e.g. hepatitis). This condition is called jaundice, and it is common for newborn babies whose liver function is not yet established. In adults, this is an uncommon and serious condition. In addition to signaling problems with the liver, yellowed eyes may signal bile duct and/or gallbladder trouble in adults.
Bulging eyes may be a symptom of thyroid problems. If your eyes feel and/or look bulgy, it could mean that your thyroid gland is overactive. If the whites of your eyes show all the way around the pupils, this is also an indication of hyperthyroidism.
Another symptom of thyroid problems is inexplicable eyebrow loss. Many people find that their eyebrows become thinner with age; however, if you experience sudden eyebrow loss it could indicate problems with your thyroid gland.
Having a stye (aka: hordeolum) is usually a temporary annoyance that may result from an infection caused by an illness or a small injury that allows bacteria to become established and multiply in a sebaceous gland. Styes that linger or recur for months may indicate more serious problems. If a stye persists or returns in the same location for a period of more than three months, it could indicate the presence of sebaceous gland carcinoma, which is a rare type of cancer.
Dry Eye Syndrome
If your eyes feel dry and gritty all of the time, it may be an indication that your Meibomian glands are blocked. These are tiny glands that can be found at the corners of the eyelids. Their purpose is to produce small amounts of natural oils that create a light film over the eyeball to prevent evaporation of tears. When they become blocked, tears evaporate rapidly and this causes dry-eye. An ophthalmologist can express these glands to resolve this problem.
Good Eye Care Is Good Health Care
These are just a few of the problems your general practitioner or eye health professional may notice with just a standard examination of your eyes. It’s easy to see that having an annual physical and seeing your optometrist on a regular basis can go far toward helping you maintain good health and prevent the development of potentially life threatening conditions.