I’m an optician – that’s what your eyes tell you about YOU and when you need to see a family doctor

EYES are often referred to as “windows to the soul”.

While we use our peepers for vision, they can often help tell a lot about our overall health.

Eyes are windows to the soul, but they can also reveal serious health conditions you may be suffering from


Eyes are windows to the soul, but they can also reveal serious health conditions you may be suffering fromPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

Eye testing is key, as optometrists can help spot changes that we might not notice ourselves.

One expert said there are five things your vision organs might be trying to tell you, and these signs might lead to a visit to the doctor.

Giles Edmonds, Specsavers’ optometrist and head of clinical services, said you should make sure you have an eye test at least every two years.

“Or sooner if you notice something unusual is happening,” he said.

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1. Red spots

While red spots aren’t a cause for concern in most cases, Giles said they could signal deadly conditions.

Most often, he said, they can be caused by broken blood vessels — by something as small as a cough or sneeze.

However, he stresses that if they stay like this for a long time, you should get them checked out, as it can be an indicator of high blood pressure.

“High blood pressure can mean you’re at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke, and it can also lead to complications with your vision.

“During an eye test, your optometrist can also detect signs of high blood pressure by observing the eye’s blood vessels to see if they have narrowed or are starting to leak.

“Patients with high blood pressure can develop a condition called hypertensive retinopathy, in which the walls of blood vessels thicken, narrow and restrict blood flow.

“In some cases, the retina also swells and blood vessels can leak,” Giles said.

The NHS says your GP could prescribe medication and recommend lifestyle changes for you if you have high blood pressure.

2. Persistent floaters

Persistent floaters are not the same as having something in your eyes and are spots in your vision that look like small gray or black spots.

They can also look like cobwebs floating around when you move your peepers.

Many people experience this, and as we age, the jelly-like substance becomes more liquid.

But Giles said stubborn swimmers can sometimes be a health emergency.

“If you notice more swarming in your eyes than usual, a sudden appearance of new ones, flashes of light in your eye, or darkness on any side of your vision, you need to get this checked out right away, as it could indicate a tear in your retina or an injury in the back of your eye.

“In some cases, it can also be a symptom of diabetic retinopathy or high cholesterol,” he said.

3. Blue ring

“Some people may notice a blue tinged ring around their irises, especially as they get older,” Giles said.

“The cause is cholesterol deposits in the eye. They are more common in people over the age of 60 and are not usually a cause for concern.

“However, if these develop in those under 40, there may be a greater risk of developing heart disease,” he said.

4. Yellow cast

Typically, yellowing of the eyes is caused by jaundice, Giles said.

This is especially important right now because jaundice is a major sign of hepatitis and cases have been increasing in children recently.

Giles said jaundice occurs when hemoglobin (part of the blood that carries oxygen) breaks down into bilirubin, which is then not eliminated from the body.

“It’s supposed to move from the liver to the bile ducts, but when it doesn’t, it can cause yellowing of the skin — and eyes — which could indicate a problem with the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.”

Your doctor can help you with jaundice, and if you’re an adult with viral hepatitis, the condition usually goes away on its own as the liver heals.

But if it’s caused by a blocked bile duct, you may need surgery.

5. Blurred vision

Blurred vision can be caused by many things and it’s important to get it checked out, Giles said.

He explained that poorly controlled diabetes can cause swelling of the lenses in the eye, which can lead to rapid vision deterioration.

“The sudden onset of blurred vision could also be a sign of a stroke, especially when combined with some other key signs like slurred speech and a sagging face.

“Blurred vision can also indicate other eye conditions, such as cataracts or age-related macular degeneration.”

You should see a doctor because diabetes needs to be controlled with medication and often with lifestyle changes.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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