What the Eyes Tell Us About Overall Health

Image of an open window looking out to a landscape.

Eyes are your window to the world. Everything you experience is enhanced by what you see. By the same token, eyes can be a window into your body.

When it comes to your overall health, your eyes act like an open book shedding light on your condition. A thorough eye exam with your ophthalmologist or optometrist can uncover clues about the state of your whole body. Your eye care provider may be able to tell whether or not you are suffering from a serious disease or medical condition just by examining blood vessels and nerves in your eyes.

What are Your Eyes Telling You?

Unusual eye symptoms raise a red flag. Your eyes act as an early warning system to let you know when something is wrong and you need medical attention. Diabetes, for instance, can cause blurred vision when symptoms began to flare up. Dim or double vision may be an early sign you are suffering a stroke.

Blood vessels are especially revealing. If blood vessels in your eyes turn from red to bronze or gray, this could be an early sign of high blood pressure or diabetes. Both conditions can damage your retinas by causing excess fluid to accumulate in your eyes. Blocked blood vessels may be a sign you have an autoimmune disease. This can in turn lead to red, itchy eyes, sensitivity to light, eye pain, and vision problems.

If your body is fighting a virus, bacteria or fungal infection, it will often show up in the eyes as well. If the whites of your eyes turn yellow, for example, it could be a sign of hepatitis or jaundice.

Following Up After an Eye Exam

Eye symptoms alone are usually not enough to diagnose an infection, disease, or other serious medical condition. Still, your eyes can reveal the fact that problems do exist. This will make it easier to obtain quick medical care before any problems manifested in the eyes have a chance to do serious damage elsewhere in the body or even turn fatal.

Knowing what steps are necessary to improve your health is easier when an eye care professional takes a look in your eyes.

American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Diabetes and Eye Health.” 2014.

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