What Can Your Eyes Tell You About Your Health?

What Can Your Eyes Tell You About Your Health?

Eyes are often called the window to the soul but they also reveal a great deal about a person’s eye health and one’s health in general. If fact, the eyes are the only part of the body where a doctor can examine veins, arteries and even a nerve (the optic nerve) without surgery which demonstrates just how important they are. Be on the lookout for the following signs that may indicate something wrong with your health or eye health.

Red Eyes

Almost everyone has experienced bloodshot eyes at one time or another. Redness in the eyes can occur when the blood vessels in the sclera, the white part of the eye, become swollen as a result of various causes such as a hangover, sun exposure, dust, dryness, an irritant, allergies, fatigue, or even stress. However, you should be aware that bloodshot eyes accompanied by other symptoms, including itching, pain, or discharge, may mean that you are suffering from conditions such as blepharitis, corneal ulcers, or uveitis.

Discomfort Using a Computer

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) comes from eyestrain after an extended time in front of a screen. It is particularly likely to affect those aged 40 and over, whose eyes tend to be drier which leads to irritation, blurred vision, or discomfort. CVS strikes most often in the afternoon when you are reading small text, and to those wear glasses or contact lenses. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent computer vision syndrome.

Cloudy Eyes

Cloudy eyes are a sign of cataracts. The disease causes protein to build up in the lens of either one or both eyes blurring the vision. It is a common eye disease among older people and more than half the population will have had a cataract by the time they are 80 year olds.

Persistent Styes

A stye is a slight bump, often red in color, on the inner or outer eyelid and is completely normal. However, if the stye remains for more than three months or reoccurs in the same spot, it may be a warning signal that something is not quite right with your eye health. In fact, it could be a rare form of cancer called sebaceous gland carcinoma, especially if you also notice a loss of eyelashes close to the stye.

Lasting Sores

Another indication of cancer is a sore that fails to heal. Among other places, it can appear on the eyelid, where, again, is is most likely to cause eyelash loss. These basal skin cancers are usually not fatal but can cause severe disfigurement and blindness.

Gray Ringed Cornea

A gray ring around the colored part of your eye is called an arcus senilis and suggests that you may have high cholesterol or triglycerides meaning that you are at a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

Eyelid Bumps

Yellow bumps on the eyelid are actually fatty deposits called xanthelasma palpebra and another sign of high cholesterol. You can distinguish this condition from a stye as they tend to come in multiples whereas a stye appears alone.

Blocked Oil Gland

Called a chalazion, a blocked oil gland causes a large, hard, and painless mass under the eyelid. Although it may look severe, a blocked oil gland is harmless and typically the result of oily skin.

Differing Pupil Sizes

It is actually common to have pupils of different sizes in a condition called anisocoria that affects around 20 percent of people. However, when combined with drooping eyelids, it could be a sign of Horner’s syndrome — a tumor in the neck or chest.

Bulging Eyes

Protruding bug-like eyes are called exophthalmos and may be a symptom of Grave’s disease, a condition that leads to overactivity in the thyroid (the gland that regulates metabolism). If this is the case, you may also experience weight loss, nervousness, and a quick, irregular pulse. The condition is most likely to affect women between the ages of 20 and 40.

Loss of Eyebrows

The thinning of eyebrow hairs closest to your ears is another sign of thyroid disease, this time both overactive (hyperthyroidism) and underactive (hypothyroidism). The reason the condition causes hair loss in the eyebrows is that the thyroid produces a hormone that is critical for hair production. For this reason, you will probably also experience hair loss elsewhere on your body. Other symptoms include changes in weight, energy levels, bowel movement, menstrual cycles, mood and skin condition.


Those with HIV or a serious disease such as cancer need to look out for signs of deterioration in their eye health that could signify retinitis. Common symptoms include blurred vision, black specks, blind spots, and seeing flashes of bright light. This condition is particularly likely to occur if you are not receiving proper treatment for your illness.

It is always important to watch out for warning signals in order to catch problems in their early stages. If you experience any of the above issues with your eye health, schedule an appointment with your doctor or optometrist who will be able to give you a proper diagnosis.

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