Eyes are Mirrors of Your Health

by Cindy Gray

Looking into someone's eyes may tell you more than just whether they’re love-struck. According to experts, the eyes can be reliable indicators of a person’s health status, and even some serious health problems. Next time you look in the mirror to check your hair or appearance, take a good look at your eyes and see if you have any of these tell-tale signs or vision problems.

Yellow EyesThe Eyes Have It: A Mirror of Your Health

Normal, healthy eyes have a white area surrounding the colored iris. If the whites of your eyes look yellow it could be a symptom of a liver condition which may otherwise continue undetected.

Hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver are just two of the liver issues that would cause yellowing of the eye. It is caused by a chemical known as bilirubin which is produced when hemoglobin in the blood starts to break down. 

Related: Does digital technology impact vision health?

Drooping Eyelids

Drooping eyelids can mean more than just temporary tiredness. If your eyelids are low over the eyeball, it may be due to a stroke or aneurysm. Usually a stroke causes other symptoms at the same time, such as slurred speech.

It’s important to get any drooping eyelid checked out by a medical professional to rule out other serious health issues such as a brain tumor. It may be caused by the onset of an autoimmune disease such as myasthenia gravis which causes muscle weakness and is hard to diagnose apart from those heavy drooping eyelids.

Inability to Close the Eye

If you have trouble closing one eye completely, it could be a symptom of Bell's palsy. This disease causes a temporary paralysis of the facial nerve on one side of the face. Although the sufferer may look as if they have had a stroke, a doctor can quickly ascertain the cause of the paralysis.

Fortunately, those who suffer from Bell's palsy usually regain use of their facial nerves within six months. The disease can be triggered by shingles, diabetes or Lyme disease which all require medical attention.

Bulging Eyes

Prominent eyeballs can be a hereditary trait as they tend to run in families. However, if you gradually develop bulging bug eyes, it can be a symptom of Graves’ disease, also known as hyperthyroidism. 

If your thyroid becomes overactive, the abnormally high hormone levels produced can cause the tissue around the eye area to swell, giving the appearance of bulging eyes. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include losing weight, nervousness and an irregular pulse.

Routine blood tests can easily check for thyroid activity to put your mind at ease. If hyperthyroidism is detected, it can be effectively treated with medication.

Hazy Vision

If your eyesight suddenly changes for the worse, you should consult your doctor or ophthalmologist fast. It may be caused by a stroke, glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration or the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS).

It's important to have your eyes checked by an eye specialist at least once a year. Although you probably will not have the above health issues, an ophthalmologist can reveal a host of undiagnosed health issues such as diabetes, myasthenia gravis or MS before they become apparent in other ways. Your eyes truly are a window to your health.

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