Does Sickness Show Up in Your Eyes?

They say that your eyes are the window to your soul.  But did you know that they are also windows into your body’s health?  I’ve noticed personally and with my children that true sickness is easy to spot — in the eyes. It’s true. There are lots of ailments that the body suffers that are revealed in the eyes.

What Can Our Eyes Tell Us?

Sometimes it is as simple as noticing excess discharge in the eyes.  This is a simple signal of a cold, flu, or allergic reaction.  Other times, it may be also be obvious to diagnose — like an apparent redness in the eyes would give you a clue that an eye infection like conjunctivitis (pink eye) is present.

But, did you know the eyes sometimes reveal clues about other diseases your body may be dealing with? Some of these diseases are threatening to the entire body, not just one’s eyes.

For example, have you ever noticed someone with a yellowish tone to the “whites” of their eyes?  When the scleras (the white part of the eye) looks yellow, it can signal some sort of disease of the liver.  Yellow eyes can also signal hepatitis, cirrhosis or other diseases that impact the liver.

Sometimes it is challenging to tell whether or not the eye is showing an indication of something bigger going on in the body, or whether or not it is just revealing something actually happening in the eye itself.  For example, if one’s eye appears bloody — it could be from an actual blow to the eye. Or, it could be a sign of severe high blood pressure, aneurisms, or a blood clotting issue like a platelet disorder.

Another example of this is droopy eyelids.  This could simply be a sign of aging.  Or, in rare cases, it could be a sign of a brain tumor. Eye issues ranging from thickened eyelids, cornea abnormalities, cloudy eyes, to crossed and bulging eyes could also signal other, more serious, health issues.

Because so many diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV, cancer and other hereditary diseases show up in the eyes, a regular eye exam is truly an important part of caring for your total body health.   For this reason it’s important to have a licensed optometrist examine your eyes for vision and general health purposes.

The American Optometric Association recommends that between the ages of 18 and 60, adults have their eyes examined every two years.  After the age of 61, all adults should have an annual eye exam.  Part of the reason for this is to help look for clues of other impending health complications.  If it’s been a while since you’ve had your eyes examined, don’t wait. Call your closest optometrist at an America’s Best retailer and have the windows to your health examined today!

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