Thursday, 18 Aug 2022

Eye health: The ‘early’ warning signs that could point to ‘wider’ health problems

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“The old saying goes that the eyes are the window to the soul,” said Sujata Paul, Contact Lens Optician and Professional Services Clinical Lead at Lenstore. And your health is no exception as the “windows” could also help reveal health problems in your body. The expert has detailed the “early” warning signs pointing to “wider” health issues.

Between the sharp sunshine and air blowing from your fan or air conditioning, your eyes could feel especially stretched at the moment.

However, Paul warned that some persistent eye problems might be caused by something bigger.

Blurred Vision

The expert said: “Whilst blurred vision may simply be an indication that your prescription needs updating, it can also be an early sign of more serious issues such as irregularities in diabetes or cataracts.”

From frequent visits to the loo to feeling very thirsty, diabetes can announce itself with various subtle signs, including blurry vision.

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Paul said: “High blood sugar level spikes can damage the blood vessels in the retina.

“The damaged blood vessels become swollen, bleed or may leak fluid.

“This can result in the inability to see with a clear focus and detect details in objects. This can occur in just one or both eyes.”

The good news is that most people will experience improvement in their vision when they regain control over their blood sugar levels.

Ring Around Your Cornea

Although high cholesterol is dubbed silent due to its lack of warning signs, a ring around your cornea could warn of the culprit.

Paul said: “If you notice a white ring forming around your iris, this could be a sign that your cholesterol is potentially high.

“If your cholesterol is becoming an issue, your eyes are an early indicator as fatty deposits known as lipids will begin to form and create a ring around the outside of your cornea.

“Those under 40 should keep an extra look out for these, as it can be a sign of extreme levels of cholesterol which would require an appointment with both your optician and GP.”

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Floaters

While having a few tiny specks crop up in your vision every now then doesn’t need to “worry” you, there’s one accompanying sign that might signal problems.

Paul said: “If they’re accompanied by flashes of light, or there is a sudden onset of an unusually large number of floaters within a short space of time, this is a symptom of a more serious problem.

“If the more frequent occurrence of floaters is accompanied by temporary vision loss or perceived flashing lights, then it could be indicative of retinal detachment.

“This condition is a medical emergency and may quickly lead to loss of vision or permanent vision impairment if left untreated.

“If you ever suspect you have the symptoms of retinal detachment, contact an eye care professional immediately.”

Three more red flags in your vision could be eye twitches, puffy, red eyes as well as spots in your cornea.

Eye twitches could signal that it’s time to cut down on alcohol, caffeine or nicotine or point to a physical burnout.

“If an eye twitch persists, it could be your body’s way of telling you to take some time off and manage your workload,” the expert noted.

Puffy, red eyes could be indicating an allergic reaction and extreme fatigue.

However, white spot on your cornea could point to a corneal infection or systemic response which needs to be “checked by a medical professional”.

The optician explained that any of these “early” warning signs should be examined by your optician to avoid further problems.

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