What your eyes can reveal about your overall health
Did you know that your eyes can reveal other significant health problems? A change in your eyesight can signal more than just vision problems.
Austin Retina Associates’ board-certified retina specialist Dr. Jose Agustin Martinez says your eyes can reveal quite a bit about your overall health. “Changes in your vision can be an early indicator of a more serious health concern,” explains Dr. Martinez. “It’s important to keep up with your annual eye exams so that any symptoms you are experiencing can be treated early.”
Here are a few ways that your eyes can reveal important changes in your overall health.
Diabetes & Diabetic Retinopathy
Blurred vision can mean more than just needing a pair of glasses. It can signal a range of medical problems, from cataracts to diabetes. Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, a progressive disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina, causing clouded vision. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults according to the CDC. While diabetic retinopathy cannot be cured, it can be treated effectively with either eye injections and laser therapy. If you have any type of diabetes get your eyes checked at least annually. Of course, if you have any visual symptoms, have your eyes checked immediately.
Double vision accompanied by a headache or bursting a blood vessel in the eye can be a sign of high blood pressure. You’re probably used to hearing about high blood pressure when it comes to heart disease and strokes, but it can also damage the blood vessels in your retina. This condition is known as hypertensive retinopathy. According to the FDA, 1 in 3 adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure. An annual eye exam can help catch this ‘silent killer’ early and prevent serious complications like a stroke or heart attack.
Elevated Brain Pressure
Elevated brain pressure due to changes in the optic nerve that enters the back of the eye can be discovered during an eye exam. A retina specialist can detect these changes through clinical exam and special testing. Usually, further evaluation is needed through recommended brain scans and referral to other specialists.
Retinal Tear & Detachment
Sometimes you may experience seeing a flash of light and little specks (known as floaters) and not think anything of it. However, flashes and floaters could mean that you have a retinal tear and detachment. A retinal tear and detachment is considered a medical emergency and can cause permanent vision loss. This Austin Retina Associates’ patient shares her story and warns others not to ignore these changes in vision.
Next time you look in a mirror, think about what your eyes are telling you. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Austin Retina at one of our 16 Central Texas locations. Our retina specialists are experts in treating retinal conditions.