Your Eyes Can Reveal Your Health Problems

The eyes speak more than words. Romantics say the eyes are windows to the soul. The eyes tell us what is left unsaid, reveal the hidden truth. No matter how hard you try to conceal your feeling, fear, or psychological turbulence in words, your eyes can hardly lie. But do you know that your eyes can also reveal your health condition? According to medical experts, the eyes enable us to detect early signs of health problems from minor to life threatening, not only eye disorders but also systemic illnesses, like diabetes mellitus, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, and some and rare hereditary diseases. The signs of these diseases may be visible long before symptoms appear, so it’s important to have regular eye tests as early anticipation.

13052851a45af35600chealthyeyes-1200x900The eyes are certainly portals into our inner health. Only trained specialists can detect and diagnose certain medical conditions, like ocular manifestations of systemic disease, during the course of an eye exam. Special equipment might be needed to look at the back of the eye. But there are also common eye signs which anyone can see. Here are some of them:

  • Bloody eye. The eye’s transparent outer layer (conjunctiva) is nourished by numerous tiny blood vessels. If these burst, blood may pool on the white of the eye (sclera). A subconjunctival hemorrhage, as it is known among doctors, can be caused by a blow to the eye but in most cases has no obvious cause. In rare instances, a subconjunctival hemorrhage can be a sign of severe high blood pressure or a platelet disorder, which can interfere with clotting.
  • Yellow eyes (scleral icterus). Actually, it’s not the sclera that turns yellow, but the conjunctiva. Liver diseases, like hepatitis and cirrhosis, may cause this condition. The color is due to the buildup of bilirubin, a compound created by the breakdown of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying molecule inside red blood cells).
  • Bulging eyes. It may be an evidence of thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism). Abnormal levels of thyroid hormone cause tissues surrounding the eye to swell, making it appear that the eye is bulging. 
  • Different colored eyes (Heterochromia iridis).  This condition is usually inherited. Bleeding, a foreign body in the eye, glaucoma, eye inflammation, Waardenburg syndrome or neurofibromatosis may cause this change of color.
  • Pupil abnormalities. The pupils of healthy people usually have the same size and symmetrical. They usually show the same reaction upon exposure to light. If one pupil is bigger than the other, or if one pupil shrinks less, or more slowly, on exposure to light, there might be an underlying medical problem. The possibilities include stroke, brain or optic nerve tumor, brain aneurysm, syphilis, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Droopy eyelid. Among doctors, it is also known as ptosis. It can be simply a sign of aging, but in rare cases it could be an evidence of a brain tumor or a neuromuscular disease known as myasthenia gravis (MG). MG is an autoimmune disorder that weakens muscles throughout the body.
  • Rings on the cornea. Wilson’s disease (a rare hereditary disorder) can cause copper to accumulate in various tissues, including those in the brain and liver. Copper deposits sometimes form on the inner surface of the cornea (though they appear to a casual observer to be on the iris, the colored disk that surrounds the pupil). These “Kayser-Fleischer rings” are themselves harmless. But without appropriate treatment, Wilson’s disease can be fatal.
  • Thickened eyelid. In very rare cases, a thickening or deformation of the eyelid is a sign of neurofibromatosis, a rare hereditary disorder marked by the growth of tumors along nerve fibers (the tumors themselves are called plexiform neurofibromas). Joseph Merrick, the 19th Century Englishman known as the Elephant Man, was long thought to have had neurofibromatosis. Experts now believe that he suffered from another rare condition known as Proteus Syndrome.
Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *