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5 Diseases Eyes Can Help Detect?

Updated on July 27, 2017
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Having been in the eye care industry for two decades has highlighted the complexity and wonder of the human eye.

Early detection of certain disorders and diseases can play a crucial role in their successful treatment and eventual recovery. Research has shown that the eye can provide clues associated with symptoms of many diseases ranging from high cholesterol, auto immune conditions, and even cancer. Below is a short list of five diseases that can be detected by examining the eye.

1) Diabetes
If blood sugar rises too high blood vessels located within the retinal blood supply network can swell and potentially burst. The ensuing hemorrhage in the tiny blood vessels in the eye can result in yellowish deposits known as diabetic retinopathy. Early symptoms may include blurry vision, floaters, and color blindness. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. If this hemorrhage is not addressed quickly it could lead to vision impairment or even blindness.

2) Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune diseases occur when an individual’s immune system targets the healthy cells in the body and is unable to distinguish them between foreign ones. If the eye is inflamed it could be an indicator of Lupus or other types of autoimmune disease. Sometimes even relatively normal incidences such as sagging eyelids on one or both eyes could indicate myasthenia gravis, another autoimmune disease.

3) High Cholesterol

High cholesterol can limit blood flow and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. There are no obvious symptoms for this disorder however if yellow or white rings appear around the eyes it could be an indication. The eye could possibly also show yellowish bumps on the cornea, another indicator. Consult your doctor if you experience such symptoms. He/she can address the condition and provide the proper therapy.

4) Cancer

Some cancers can also be detected during an eye exam. If the physical structure of your eye changes or is unusual in shape your eye doctor might refer you to a specialist. If common causes of increased eye pressure are eliminated your doctor may suggest a more specialized examination to determine if there are any external factors such as a brain tumor causing the abnormal pressure. Eye exams could also help detect ocular melanoma by analyzing the cells that make the pigmentation in the eye, and skin cancer by observing if Basal cell carcinomas have spread and appear on the eyelid. Regular eye exams are highly recommended in all cases but even more so if there is a common family incidence of cancer.

5) Graves Disease

Graves disease is another type of autoimmune disease that causes the over-activity of the thyroid gland. Bulging or protruding eyeballs could potentially indicate a potential thyroid disease. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to consult your doctor.

Eyes are truly a window to the world. Other than allowing people to appreciate the beautiful day-to-day activities and interactions that we enjoy, almost without an afterthought, they can also provide invaluable clues to the complex operation of our bodies. There are various affects that certain disorders and diseases have on the eye. Better awareness of the symptoms could play a vital role in a more prompt and responsive treatment. Being informed can ultimately help save your vision or even your life.


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