Did you know that your eyes can say a lot about your health? Learning about the signs and symptoms of different eye problems can help you seek immediate medical help and prevent larger health issues in your body.
Here are things your eyes say about your health and you can notice them just by looking in your eyes:
1. Disappearing Eyebrows
If you notice that a third of your eyebrows fall out, it may indicate a thyroid disease that can be either due to overactive thyroid gland or underactive thyroid gland.
Thyroid hormones are important for the production of hair. So, if you start noticing the thinning of eyebrows and uneven brow hair loss, or early greying, then it’s a sign of thyroid problem.
2. A Stye That Won’t Go Away
A small, raised, often reddish bump along the inner or outer eyelid margin is called a stye. If it stays of more than three months or it keeps re-occurring in the same area, it indicates that you are suffering from rare cancer called sebaceous gland carcinoma.
A cancerous cyst mimics a stye and is also characterized by the loss of eyelashes around the stye.
3. Burning Eyes, Blurry Vision While Using a Computer
This is commonly known as the “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). Eyestrain occurs due to the lack of contrast on a computer screen, and the extra work involved in focusing on pixels of light. This causes the dryness of the eyes as the ability to produce lubricating tears decreases.
This results in eye irritation, blurred vision, and discomfort. People who wear glasses or contact lens or binge watch Netflix are at higher risk of CVS if they work long hours using computers especially old models. Flat-panel LCD display screens cause less eye strain.
4. A Small Blind Spot In Your Vision, With Shimmering Lights Or a Wavy Line
This issue may or may not be followed by a headache, and it appears as a result of a migraine aura also known as ophthalmic migraine.
You may experience disturbed vision as you get to see the bright dot or a line in the centre of the field of your vision. Though painless, it’s quite uncomfortable and prevents your focus on the work. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious concerns like a retinal tear.
5. Whites of the Eye Turned Yellowish
This condition is commonly known as jaundice and it mainly affects newborns with immature liver function as well as those suffering from bile ducts, gallbladder, and liver issues.
The yellowish colour develops due to the buildup of bilirubin, the by-product of old red blood cells the liver can’t process.
However if you notice just a small yellowish patch or bump on the whites to the side of your iris, it indicates effects of ultraviolet light on your eyes or wearing contact lens.
6. Eyes That Seem to Bulge
The most common cause of protruding eyes is hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland). However, if this is a common issue running in your family then it is less likely to be hyperthyroidism.
You must immediately visit the doctor if the protruding eyes are accompanied by other symptoms like blurry vision, weight loss, fatigue, restlessness, and palpitations.
7. Sudden Double Vision, Dim Vision, or Loss of Vision
These are the visual warning signs of a stroke or brain aneurysm. Problems with cornea or lens or weakened or paralyzed eye muscle can prevent the eyes from aligning properly resulting in double vision or dim vision.
A sudden blurry vision is often known to be triggered by low blood flow to your eye or your brain. It can be the warning of a stroke or migraine headache.
Inflammation of the optic nerve also causes blurred, grey and dim vision. A sudden loss of vision is caused by eye trauma, blockage of blood flow to or from the retina or detachment of the retina from its usual position.
8. Blurred Vision in a Diabetic
Diabetics are more prone to eye problems. Diabetic retinopathy which is a problem with the circulatory system of the eye due to diabetes – is the leading cause of blindness in American adults.
The common vision problems associated with diabetes are glaucoma and cataracts. Having diabetes for a long time may cause you to see tiny dark specks or floaters in your field of vision. Floaters are the sign that your retina is in danger.
9. A bump or brown spot on the eyelid
Although least expected, a bump that looks pearly with tiny blood vessels is the sign of skin cancer. A clear brown spot is highly likely to be malignant melanoma.
In most cases, the malignant eyelid tumours are basal cell carcinoma, which mostly strikes elderly and fair-skinned people. Rush to doctor whenever you notice your eyelashes are missing and suspicious spots on eyelids.
10. Sudden difficulty closing one eye, inability to control tears
The impairment of the seventh cranial nerve that controls the facial muscle leads to temporary paralysis in half the face. Your eyelid may droop making it difficult or impossible to close and produce tears. This condition is also called Bell’s palsy and the effects tend to come on suddenly.
If you are experiencing eye twitches it can be the side effects of having alcohol, caffeine, poor sleep, stress, or smoking. It signals a problem with your nervous system, like multiple sclerosis.
On the other hand, drooping eyelids is the sign of immune system attack and muscle weakness, which doctors call as myasthenia gravis. It affects eye, face, and throat muscles making it difficult to chew, swallow, or even speak.
11. Dry eyes that are sensitive to light
Dry eyes are the common symptom of the Sjogren’s syndrome, a disorder of an immune system that attacks tear and saliva glands. Timely treatment can prevent severe tissue damage. People at the age of 40 or above are highly likely to develop this eye condition.
12. Increasing gunk in the eye
It is caused by Blepharitis—inflammation of the eyelids caused by clogging of the tiny oil glands near the base of the eyelashes resulting in irritation and redness and crusty dandruff-like flakes on your eyelashes. This condition produces yellow or green eye discharge making you feel gritty.
13. Gray ring around the cornea
Doctors call this arcus senilis and in simple terms, it is caused by high cholesterol and triglycerides. This condition of eye indicates risk for heart attack and stroke.
14. Cloudy eye
Clouding of the lens inside the eye is known as cataract and is most common in older people. The common health problems associated with the cloudy eye are tumors and diabetes, as well as side effects from certain medications.
As you can see, your eyes speak volumes about your health issues.
Is Poor Vision Inevitable As You Age?
Poor vision is not inevitable and modern lifestyle just contributes to it. People over 60, apart from glasses, may also need high-quality supplements in order to support their vision.
You may also need additional vision support if:
– You’re a smoker
– You’re overweight
– You’re diabetic
– You spend a lot of time in front of the computer
Iridology, or iridodiagnosis, is an alternative medical technique which studies the iris of your eye. The practitioners of these techniques claim that certain characteristics, such as colours and patterns can reveal significant information about your overall health.
Natural, Common-Sense Strategies to Help Protect Healthy Vision
1. Quit Smoking
With smoking, the production of free radicals increases and it negatively affects the quality of your vision.
2. Eat Plenty of Fresh Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
With regular consumption of green leafy vegetables, you can significantly improve your eye health. These vegetables are abundant in lutein and zeaxanthin which can improve the quality of your vision.
3. Care for Your Cardiovascular System
High blood pressure can damage the miniscule blood vessels on the retina. You can maintain your blood pressure normal by avoiding fructose.
According to a research by Dr. Richard Johnson, a chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, consuming 74 grams or more fructose in a day (equal to 2.5 sugary drinks) can increase your blood pressure by 77 percent.
4. Normalize Your Blood Sugar
High blood sugar levels can obstruct the blood flow in the retina and also damage the blood vessels in your retina.
5. Get Plenty of Healthy Omega-3 Fat
A study published in the August 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology found that omega-3 fatty acids can protect your vision.
However, fish is no longer the best source of omega-3 fats since the pollution on fish farms is at high levels. Krill oil is extremely beneficial and it contains astaxanthin.
6. Avoid Trans Fats
These fats can lead to macular degeneration. They are commonly found in processed food and baked goods, including fired foods, fried chicken, margarine, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers.
7. Avoid Aspartame
One of the many acute symptoms of aspartame poisoning is problems with eyesight.
8. Antioxidants for Healthy Eyes
Several antioxidants have been proved as particularly beneficial to improve eye vision:
– Black currant anthocyanins
Your eyes are now subjected to much higher levels of oxidation than our ancestors. There are more contaminants and the depletion of our ozone layer is causing more intense sunlight, which directly exposes your eyes and skin to more free radicals. With age, your body loses the ability to produce antioxidants.
Therefore, it is very important to protect your vision.
- Gray, G.R. and Rosen, R., 2008. Common Eye Problems. Essentials of Family Medicine, p.301.
- Clayton, J.A., 2018. Dry eye. New England Journal of Medicine, 378(23), pp.2212-2223.
- Grierson, I., 2000. The eye book: eyes and eye problems explained. Liverpool University Press.