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What Your Eyes Say About Your Health

Our eyes say a lot about our health and well-being. This WellnessKeen article helps you comprehend various eye signs and what they have to say about your health.
WellnessKeen Staff
Excessive Tearing
Eyelashes that grow inward can irritate the front of the eye, leading to excessive watering from the eyes. This condition is known as Entropion.
We have always acknowledged our eyes as being the best medium of expression. It is the eyes, at times, that can express our inner feelings and emotions far better than words. It is rightly said that no matter how convincing a lie a person tells, the eyes always reveal the fact he is lying. However, apart from being one of the modes of expression, our eyes also perform the important function of revealing certain health issues, prompting us to take a closer look at our health.

The eyes have a few characteristics that make them the perfect body part to indicate health issues. For instance, the placement of the eyes makes it possible for doctors to see bare veins, nerves, and arteries without any surgical procedure or using medical equipment, like scanners and cameras. Thus, an eye doctor might get to know about heart problems even before a cardiologist.

People believe that they should visit their eye specialist only when they suffer from vision problems. However, there are many conditions, like diabetes and heart diseases, that can be detected by an examination of the eyes, making a regular eye checkup quite important.
Eye Symptoms That Reveal Health Problems
Watery Eyes
Possible Causes

Dry Eyes
When your eye itches and leads to watering, the first assumption is an allergy. However, if you have an allergy, you will notice a white stringy discharge from your eyes in addition to the itching. If your eyes are watering, then the problem is more likely to be from dry eyes. Excessive tearing is actually your eyes response to the irritation caused by dryness.

Blockage in Tear Ducts
Blockages of the tear ducts are of the most common causes of watery eyes in most adults. These blockages occur just below the tear sac, due to gradual narrowing of the upper end of the tear duct. Such narrowing is usually caused by persistent mild inflammation. If left untreated, this may cause an infection, resulting in a sticky discharge from the eyes, in addition to watery eyes.
Droopy Eyes
Drooping of the eyelid can be one-sided (unilateral) or it can be present on both sides (bilateral). When one-sided, it is easier to identify by comparing both the eyelids. However, it is difficult to detect drooping on both eyelids, or when the problem is not so severe. It may stay constant, grow over time, or come and go.

Possible Causes of One Eyelid Drooping

✦ Nerve injury
✦ Normal aging process
✦ Normal variation of the eyelids
✦ Growth of a stye in the eye
✦ Cysts

Possible Causes of Both Eyelids Drooping

✦ Migraine headache
✦ Myasthenia gravis (Autoimmune disorder)
✦ Normal aging process
✦ Normal variation of the eyelids

Other rare but serious disorders and diseases that cause droopy eyelids include strokes, diabetes, Bell's palsy, Horner's syndrome, etc.
Painful Eyes
Possible Causes

Glaucoma
When the fluid in the eye is obstructed and does not drain properly, there is excessive pressure created in the eye. This increasing pressure can damage the nerves and blood vessels in the eye, and cause vision problems. If the condition is left untreated, a person may suffer from permanent loss of vision. The common types of glaucoma include open angle, acute angle closure, secondary glaucoma, and the rarest of all, congenital glaucoma.

Corneal Abrasion
Injuries caused to the eye, known as corneal abrasions, lead to sharp, persistent pain in the eye. When suffering from corneal abrasions, the eyes cannot tolerate brightness, and the eyelids close to protect the cornea from bright light. These injuries usually heal on their own, but using antibiotic eye drops with the doctor's permission may prevent further infection in some cases.
Red Eyes
Possible Causes

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage
Coughing can, at times, cause the blood vessels in the eyes to burst and create a bright red blotch on the surface. It's not a very serious condition and may clear on its own within a few weeks.

High Blood Pressure
Constant red blotches on the surface of the eyes may be a sign of hypertension. High blood pressure causes blood vessels to expand, or even burst in some cases, leaving a series of red blotches on the eye surface.

Conjunctivitis
It is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that covers the inner surface of the eyelids and the eyeball. Conjunctivitis causes swelling of the blood vessels on the surface of the eyes, and makes them look bloodshot.
Itchy Eyes
Possible Causes

Allergies
When the surface of the eye is exposed to allergens, itching may be experienced. These allergies are called ocular allergies, or allergic conjunctivitis, and they are of two types: seasonal allergies, which are more common, and perennial allergies. Allergic reactions trigger the release of histamines, which cause itching in the eye. The itching may be accompanied by redness and watering. Rubbing the eye should be strictly avoided, as it may scratch and damage the surface of the eye. Rubbing may also cause the release of more histamines, worsening the condition.

Blepharitis
Blepharitis is an infection of the skin of the inner eyelid, caused by certain bacteria. In some cases, dandruff-like flakes appear on the outer side of the eyelid, which is actually the skin peeling off. It is often associated with rosacea, a skin condition which causes reddening of the face. Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for this condition, but it can be treated with medications and home remedies.
Iris Ring in the Eye
Possible Cause of Gray or White-colored Ring

High Cholesterol
A gray or white ring around the iris, i.e., the colored part of the eye, could be a warning sign of heart problems, diabetes, or particularly a stroke. It is known as a corneal arcus and is more common in elderly people. However, if young adults have such a ring around the iris, it may indicate high cholesterol, which can be a major risk factor for cardiac disease.

Possible Cause of Copper-colored Ring

Wilson's Disease
A coppery ring can develop around the iris due to excessive copper buildup in the body. Known as Wilson's disease, it is a rare genetic disorder. If this disease is left untreated, it may damage the liver and the brain.
I totally agree that, at times, our eyes show symptoms for very casual reasons, like lack of sleep or excessive straining. However, these conditions can also indicate certain underlying health conditions for which medical help is a must. Hence, never ignore any of the symptoms mentioned above, and do visit your eye specialist for a regular checkup.
Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional.