What Your Eyes Are Saying About Your Health

It’s said that the eyes are the window to the soul, but what about a window to your health? Surprisingly you can tell a lot about certain health conditions from your eyes, and you don’t even need complicated equipment to detect many of the issues. Take a look at these eye symptoms below to see what they might be trying to say about your health.

Dry Eyes

Dry eye is a common problem, causing eyes that feel dry, irritated and tired, with a stinging or grainy feeling in the eye and possibly discharge from the eye. Chronic dry eye can be a sign of dry eye syndrome, where the eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears are of the wrong consistency and dry up too quickly.

Over time dry eye can contribute to an inflammation on the surface of the eye that can lead to pain, ulcers and some loss of vision. However, dry eye treatment is available, and your optometrist or ophthalmologist can help provide you with eye drops, medication or surgery to correct the issue. Some underlying medical conditions can contribute to dry eye, and managing these conditions will help to provide some relief from dry eye. However, dry eye can result from a variety of different causes, such as medication, allergies and even infrequent blinking, so it’s important to seek medical advice for the right treatment.

Itchy Red Eyes

Itchy red eyes are a hallmark sign of allergies and tend to pop up a lot around springtime when pollen increases in the air. If both your eyes are red and you have other symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, or even hives, your red eyes are most likely due to allergies. However, if only one of your eyes is red, you are more likely to suffer from another condition.

The most common causes of a single red eye without pain are conjunctivitis (also known as ‘pink eye’) or a burst blood vessel. Conjunctivitis is a common infectious disease that can affect one or both eyes, and symptoms include a red itchy eye with discharge. You may even wake up with one or both eyes glued shut by the sticky discharge. An antibiotic eye ointment prescribed by the doctor can clear this one up. A burst blood vessel is another cause of painless red eye which can look alarming but isn’t harmful at all, and no treatment is required as it will clear up on its own in a few weeks.

Several conditions can cause a painful red eye, such as iritis, acute glaucoma, a corneal ulcer, or a scratch on the eye. All of these are more serious, and if you have a painful red eye, you should seek a doctor’s advice as soon as possible.

Cloudy Eyes

An eye that is visibly cloudy in colour is generally due to cataracts. Cataracts will cause some degree of vision loss, and while more common in older people, they can occur in young adults and children. Vision changes due to cataracts can be managed in the early stages with glasses, good lighting for reading and wearing sunglasses while outside, but surgery can be done on cataracts to relieve the symptoms fully.

Droopy Eyelids

Apart from not being able to keep your eyes open if you’re very tired, eyelid drooping can often indicate a more serious underlying condition. It is more common in older adults as a progression of ageing, although it can occur in younger people too. Both eyelids drooping can be a sign of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune condition, and you should see your doctor quickly for a diagnosis. Both eyelids drooping, where the cornea in one eye is enlarged, is a serious condition known as Horner’s syndrome. Other serious medical conditions can be indicated by one-sided eye drooping, which can be caused by stroke, neurological damage or cancer and these all require immediate medical attention.

Many changes occur in our eyes, along with changes in our health. If you notice any unusual eye symptoms, it’s always good to mention these to your doctor, as our eyes truly do provide a window to our well-being.

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