It is often said that our eyes are the window to our soul but it is also true that our eyes can say a lot about the condition and health of our bodies.
LiveMD offers information on what your eyes can tell you about your wellbeing.
Redness is one of the most common afflictions of the eye and it occurs when the tiny blood vessels in the eye become irritated and inflamed. Dust, dry air, colds or allergic reactions can all cause the eyes to become red. Usually this problem will resolve on its own or with the use of a moisturizing, over-the-counter eye drop.
Other causes of redness include infection, injury or scratches to the eye, ulcers or an increase in eye pressure. It is important to contact a doctor as soon as possible if you experience red eyes along with nausea and vomiting, if your vision is affected in any way, if you have a severe headache, or if there are signs of infection such as itchiness and white or yellow discharge.
Jaundice is a condition that is caused when there is a buildup of a substance called bilirubin in the body. A well functioning body will naturally produce and then eliminate this substance but if certain organs are not working as they should, the bilirubin levels can rise and cause a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.
Conditions affecting the liver, pancreas or gallbladder (such as alcohol abuse, cirrhosis, hepatitis, infection, or gallstones) and certain blood disorders can all cause jaundice. It is important to speak with a doctor if you suspect that you may be suffering from this condition to determine its cause and receive appropriate treatment.
Eyes that Bulge
Eyes the begin to protrude or bulge can be a sign of a serious medical condition. An overactive thyroid or a condition called Graves disease are the two most common reasons for bulging eyes to occur. This could also happen if there has been an injury to the eye, if there is an infection or if there is a buildup in the fluid behind the eye causing pressure. If you begin to experience any protrusion of either one or both eyes, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Excess eye Secretions
It is normal for our eyes to secrete fluids but if you notice that these secretions become thick, or are a yellowish colour it could be a sign of infection. It is common for redness, itching and/or pain to accompany this discharge. When treated in the early stages, most eye infections are not serious and can be cured with a course of medicated eye drops or antibiotics. When left untreated, however, these infections can become quite serious and may have a lasting effect on the health of the eye and quality of vision.
Changes in Vision
As we age, it is common for our vision to gradually deteriorate but a sudden change in vision may be a clue that there is something more serious happening in our bodies. Flashing lights, floating dots or a grey area in the peripheral vision that come on quite quickly, may indicate the retina (a layer of the back of the eyeball) is detaching. Retinal detachment must be treated promptly (usually with surgery) or it could lead to blindness.
A sudden loss of vision is also a very scary and serious occurrence and could be caused by any number of conditions. Macular degeneration and glaucoma are two common causes. A stroke could be a cause of a sudden decrease in vision or double vision.
If you notice any changes to your your sight, especially those that occur quickly or are severe, contact a doctor immediately.
Ophthalmologists and optometrists are trained to provide you with the best care for the health of your eyes and your vision. LiveMD offers you the services of these professionals to keep your eyes and quality of sight healthy and strong for years to come. To talk to one of our doctors by phone, video, text, or in-person schedule an appointment at www.mylivemd.com today.
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