Believe it or not, there are many things your eyes say about your health. The color of your eyes, the size of your pupils, and even eye sensitivity can provide insight into your total well-being, which is why a visit to the ophthalmologist could get you more than a pair of glasses. It could also provide you with insight into a seemingly unrelated health problem. Seeing the ophthalmologist is relatively pain free, and, since there are many things your eyes say about your health, it is a good idea to have your eyes checked regularly. That being said, sometimes your eyes speak volumes, and you don’t even need to see an ophthalmologist to know you need to get a checkup from your family doctor. At times, you can see the problem with your own two eyes.
1. Grey Rings
Having grey rings around the cornea could indicate a condition known as circumferential arcus. While this medical term is quite fancy, it simply means that a person has a grey or white ring around their cornea that indicates high cholesterol and high triglycerides. Generally, cholesterol and triglyceride levels have to be very high for this to happen. Therefore, if you do notice grey or white rings around your eyes, you should make an appointment with your family doctor. He or she can order a blood test to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If they do come back high, you should discuss dietary changes with your doctor. Aside from high cholesterol and triglycerides, there are many other things your eyes say about your health.
2. Dry and Light Sensitive Eyes
Every now and then, everyone experiences dry eyes and light sensitivity. However, if this is constant and severe, it could indicate a serious problem. Dry eyes and light sensitivity are classic symptoms of Sjogren’s disease. Sjogren’s is an autoimmune disease that causes the white blood cells to attack moisture producing glands, which is why is it very common for people to experience dry eyes. Sjogren’s can also affect the mouth, kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal system, and other organs of the body. For a proper diagnosis, an ophthalmologist can perform certain eye tests and a doctor can order specific blood tests. If Sjogren’s is diagnosed, there are medications that people can take, including eye drops to help with moisture and, possibly, immunosuppressive medication.
3. Bloodshot Eyes
I get very red eyes during allergy season; however, bloodshot eyes with broken blood vessels can indicate a bigger problem than seasonal allergies. Bloodshot eyes can indicate high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure causes the blood vessels in the retina to kink, which makes them burst. As a result, bloodshot eyes develop. Ophthalmologists can see these vessels by looking at the inner part of your eye. If you do have high blood pressure, it is important to take steps to lower it. High blood pressure can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Thankfully, there are simple steps that can be taken to decrease high blood pressure. Cutting way back on sodium and increasing the amount of potassium in your diet can help lower blood pressure. Drinking beet juice or hibiscus tea can also help with high blood pressure,and this will in turn get rid of bloodshot eyes.
4. Different Sized Pupils
Pupils are normally the same size in each eye. They let in light so you can see, which is why they get bigger when it is dark. Having big pupils when it is dark is not a problem, but having one pupil that is bigger than the other pupil is a problem. Different sized pupils indicate that someone is at high risk for having a stroke or a brain aneurism. They also can indicate a brain or optic nerve tumor. Obviously, you want to take different sized pupils very seriously. If you do notice that you or someone else has different sized pupils, it is very important to see a doctor.
5. Itchy Eyes
Having itchy eyes is a much less serious problem than having different sized pupils. Itchy eyes are most commonly caused by allergies. When you have allergies, your body produces histamines, which can make your eyes itch. They can also make your nose run, your throat sore, your skin break out in a rash, and they can even cause swelling. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to an allergic reaction. You can take over the counter antihistamines, such as Claritin or Benadryl.
6. Yellow Eyes
Except for on Halloween, having yellow eyes is not very desirable. Jaundice is a disease that causes the whites of the eyes to develop a yellow tint. This yellow tint is a result of having a buildup of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow chemical in the blood that builds up when the liver doesn’t properly process red blood cells. Jaundice can be caused by several different things, including blood diseases, blocked bile ducts, infections, and hepatitis. Since all of these problems need attention, it is important to visit the doctor if you develop yellow eyes.
7. Watery Eyes
While watery eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, one of the common causes of watery eyes is an infection. Infections can cause eyes to become very watery, and if it is a bacterial infection, the eyes can also become sticky. If your eyes are excessively watery and not getting any better, it is probably a good idea to see a doctor. However, if your eyes only become watery after you spend a lot of time at the computer, you probably just have eye strain from staring at the screen too long.
Eyes are absolutely amazing. They let you see, they can give insight into your emotions, and they can even provide clues about your health. Paying attention to changes in the appearance of your eyes can help you stay on top of any potential health problems, and hopefully help you fix any problem that arises before it becomes too serious. Did you know that your eyes could say so much about your health?