Eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, but could they also be a mini-preview of your health? Short answer—yes. Some medical conditions such as liver disease and high cholesterol can be seen by simply looking in a mirror. So, we tapped Largo, FL, oculoplastic surgeon Jasmine Mohadjer, MD, for the signs your eyes might be sending you about your health—and when to know it’s time to hit the doctor’s office.
“Hyperthyroidism may first be diagnosed because of eye changes,” Dr. Mohadjer warns. “Patients may notice swelling of their eyelids, bulging of the eyeball, and their eye lids may open too widely,” she explains. Also, according to Dr. Mohadjer, many types of cancers can metastasize to the orbit of the eyeball and present itself as bulging eyes, so this isn’t a symptom that should ever go overlooked.
Deposits That Look Like Skin Tags on the Eyelid
“Some patients will have deposits of cholesterol on the upper, lower and inner corners of their eyelids called Xanthelasma, which can indicate high cholesterol,” says D. Mohadjer. “The only cure is excision, but they can recur.”
“You can have jaundice or yellowing of the eyes, which is usually a very late sign of liver disease,” explains Dr. Mohadjer, reiterating that this symptom should be brought to the attention of both your eye doctor and your general practitioner.
Prominent Blood Vessels
“Any person with a history of diabetes should have an eye exam to look for abnormal blood vessels or bleeding in the back of the eye. If gone untreated, this can lead to blindness—it’s actually one of the leading causes of blindness in America,” exclaims Dr. Mohadjer. While you can’t necessarily see this on your own, a simple eye exam can detect the symptoms so your eye doctor can refer you to a specialist.
Red, Painful Eyes
“Contacts are the leading cause of corneal ulcers, which can lead to scarring, loss of vision and ultimately, loss of eyesight if left untreated,” says Dr. Mohadjer. “To avoid this, good hygiene habits are important, contacts are not generally recommended for overnight wear and if the eye becomes red, painful or irritated (which indicates corneal ulcers), the contact should be removed and you should have an eye examination.” To avoid something like this happening to you, invest in contacts that maintain optimum levels of hydration at all times. A good option is would be the Acuvue Vita Contact Lenses, which provide maximum comfort for one full month.