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Using the Eyes as an Indicator of Your Body's Health

Using the Eyes as an Indicator of Your Body's Health
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 5 min read

Just as the summer gets going, the nation takes a moment to celebrate the brilliance of the sun with National Sunglasses Day. Started by The Vision Council, June 27th has become a day to remind the American public of the importance of ultraviolet-protection through eyewear and sun wear. UV radiation is the most noted culprit of skin cancer and sunburns, wreaking having on the skin, and causing premature aging. For this reason, wearing sunscreen is one of the easiest, proactive anti-aging strategies you can adopt. However, UV rays are just as damaging to the eyes. A day without protection can create temporary issues with redness, swelling, or sensitivity. Long-term damage could include cataracts, cancer, or macular degeneration.

Glimpsing Beyond the Soul

It has been said that the windows are the eyes to the soul, but in truth, the eyes can tell much more about your total body health. Iridology is an alternative medicine technique where practitioners evaluate the colors, patterns, and characteristics of the iris to gain insight into an individualâs systemic health. The medical field has supported the role of the eyes in revealing the internal health of an individual, as a recent study showed that by the age of 60, changes in the blood vessels within the eye can indicate that significant memory loss will occur over the next decades of a personâs life. The blood vessels in the brain are very similar to those int he eyes, so researchers are able to look at the degeneration or negative patterns occurring in the eye to reveal what may soon occur in the brain. The study revealed that those who experienced moderate to severe retinopathy scores significantly lower in cognitive and memory tests throughout the study.

According to research, it is not a stretch to believe that the health of the blood vessels in the eye is a strong indicator of the health of the brain and other organs. The blood vessel supply is what makes it possible for all the organs to their jobs effectively. Screenings in the eye have a lot of promise for revealing negative conditions developing in the brain. The earlier the intervention, the greater the ability to alter the course of the coming event. The number of conditions or diseases that are revealed by eye health continues to grow. The correlation between eye health and systemic disease is increasing the accuracy of predictions for things like strokes or cardiovascular conditions, as well as mental and cognitive changes like Alzheimerâs. An eye exam can reveal much more than how strong your vision is.

Seeing Diabetes, Cholesterol, and Hypertension

Your eyes can give doctors a way to see problems with hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol. When a personâs blood sugar gets out of control, it can create temporary changes to the lens of the eye. This may lead to moments of blurred vision that self-correct once the sugar levels return to normal. Those who experience these moments might blame them on general aging concerns, but it could reveal that there is an uncontrolled systemic disease. When there is too much pressure in the blood vessels or high blood pressure, it can easily be seen within the eye. The blood vessels leak and hemorrhage, conditions that can be seen during a routine eye exam. High blood pressure is also easily noticed during an exam because it affects the front part of the eye. The cornea is where a contact lens sits, making it hard for an optometrist to miss a buildup of cholesterol. Plaque build up in the carotid artery leads to serious heart conditions, and this can be detected when little bits of plaque break away and travel into the eye. As the arteries in the eye get clogged, it changes the structure of the vascular region in the back of the eye. An eye doctor that notices these changes can recommend the patient for more testing.

Looking Into Serious Health Concerns

The eye can also show signs of serious health concerns with cancer, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, and sexually transmitted diseases. Experiences with sudden vision loss are often when patients will first be alerted to the possibility of MS, as a doctor notices a change in the appearance and color of the optic nerve. Unresolved issues of pinkeye (conjunctivitis) can indicate the presence of and STD like chlamydia or syphilis. HIV can also create noticeable changes to the retina. Thyroid disease can lead to bulging eyes or the muscles around the eyes to stiffen and become enlarged.


Good health is important is to your visions, so always take protective measures with UV protection. However, continue to make a yearly exam as your eyes have a lot to reveal about the rest of your bodyâs health.


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.