Did you know that when you visit your optician for an eye examination they aren’t just testing your sight? Maybe even if you’re aware that they aren’t just testing for long or short-sightedness, astigmatism, or other sight problems, you may think their insight only extends to eye health. Whilst it is true that your optician will also be checking you for signs and symptoms of eye conditions such as glaucoma, your eyes can also be the window to seeing other health conditions.
Over recent years more and more conditions are being shown to have a link to eye health. For example, scientists are beginning to believe that doctors and ophthalmologists will be able to give an indication about the propensity for developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia through the evidence in the eye of Amyloid plagues.
In fact, your eyes are the only part of your body where medical professionals can see your veins, arteries and nerves, without the need for surgery. They, therefore, are the windows through which other things can be seen. Other diseases and conditions which may be picked up through an eye examination include:
- High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, and Cardiovascular Concerns
In the same way that too much cholesterol thickens arteries, the same happens in the eye. There may also be signs of deposits within the eye caused by high cholesterol. High blood pressure can also result in certain signs and symptoms within the eye giving an indication of wider cardiovascular concerns.
Diabetes often first shows up in a tangible way during an eye examination. The examination can reveal changes to the small capillaries in the retina, causing them to leak either blood or a yellow fluid. This may be what is known as diabetic retinopathy.
- Allergies & Intolerances
Not all allergies and intolerances will give tell-tale signs in the eyes, unless during intense allergic reactions. However, there can be a few indications that wider allergic problems are underway by looking at the dark circles around the eyes thought to be caused by inflammation of the sinuses, known as ‘allergic shiners’.
- Thyroid Problems
There are certain signs in and around the eyes that indicate someone might be suffering from a thyroid condition. Symptoms include inflammation of the eye muscles and fatty tissue at the back of the eye and even double vision. Specifically, a condition known as Thyroid Eye Disease may be present. Furthermore, thyroid conditions can cause hair loss in the eyebrow area.
Specifically, eye melanoma, certain brain tumours, and some other cancer metastases can sometimes be identified during an eye examination. It is also possible to identify some forms of skin cancer from examinations of the eye area.
- Bell’s Palsy
Bell’s Palsy is a rare condition, most frequently caused by the herpes virus or other viruses, which compress a facial nerve. It is usually temporary. Problems fully closing one eye, or inability to control tear production in one eye, may give your optician cause to investigate further.
Eyes – The Window to Health
Eyes aren’t only the window to the soul, but increasingly the window to your wider health. It’s, therefore, important that you ensure you have regular eye examinations so that not only your sight is protected, but your wider health is protected too.