Monday, December 31, 2018

Our Eyes Reveal Much about Our Overall Health: Eye Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul.  But our eyes can also tell us much about our general health.  During an eye exam, doctors can find clues to what’s going on in our eyes – and in the rest of the body.

Some eye diseases have no symptoms, and even if one has excellent vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people have regular eye exams starting at age 40. This is the age when the first signs of eye disease may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will advise the patient on when to have follow-up exams. Anyone who has diabetes, other risk factors for eye disease or additional vision issues should see an ophthalmologist sooner and may be advised to have eye exams more often.

Some patients are surprised to learn that they have another health problem, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or a thyroid condition during a routine eye exam. The eye is the only place in the body where doctors can noninvasively see blood vessels. Since many illnesses like diabetes and hypertension affect the blood vessels, physicians can spot a disease before patients are aware of it.

Certain symptoms affecting the eyes should not be ignored. Although it’s human nature to hope a problem will get better on its own, that usually is not the case. A visit to an eye doctor is in order if you experience any of the following:  
·          Yellow eyes.  A yellowing of the white part of the eye can be a symptom of hepatitis, a liver disease.
·         Bulging eyes.  If someone’s eyes suddenly appear to be bulging, it may be a sign of a thyroid problem. Bulging eyes can also be a manifestation of other diseases, such as a tumor behind the eye.
·         Red or bloodshot eyes.  Red eyes don't always mean you didn’t get enough sleep. They can be a sign of an over-active thyroid, allergy or an eye infection. 
·         A sty or other growth on or near the eyelid.  Any growth should be checked by a doctor. Certain eyelid or skin cancers can look like a sty or pimple.
·         Dry eyes.  This condition often affects people when they get older or experience hormonal changes. But dry eyes can also signal an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.
·         Watery or tearing eyes.  This can be a sign of corneal disease, a blocked tear duct, or an eyelash or lid problem.
·         Double vision.  When double vision occurs, it could be related to thyroid disease, a brain problem, a tumor or another disease.
·         Seeing halos around lights.  Halos may indicate cataracts, glaucoma, corneal disease or contact lens overuse.
·         Dots and spots.  People may see tiny objects that look like small dots, pieces of string or amoeba-like objects. They can develop with normal aging.  However, if they appear suddenly as hundreds of small black particles, it can be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment. 

Anyone who would like more information about eye conditions is invited to visit 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Save Your Sight: People with Diabetes Urged to Have Annual Eye Exam

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.

The disease affects blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye.

Diabetes can have a devastating effect on vision, but the good news is that regular dilated eye exams by an ophthalmologist, an early diagnosis and timely treatment can preserve sight for the majority of people with diabetes.

It's important that people with diabetes have their eyes checked as recommended by their ophthalmologist. For many patients, that means once a year, but sometimes more often. 

People with diabetes should also maintain good control of their blood sugar levels and their blood pressure to prevent diabetic retinopathy. Family members are urged to make sure their loved ones receive the care they need to keep their eyes healthy.

Diabetes is a growing problem in the United States. In 2015, an estimated 30.3 million Americans had the disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, of the 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 7.2 million were undiagnosed. Approximately 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

Annual eye exams are important, even if there are no symptoms of vision loss. At first, people may not notice any changes and may even have 20/20 vision. But over time, diabetic retinopathy usually gets worse and starts affecting sight.

The longer someone has diabetes, the greater the risk of developing retinopathy. After 15 years, almost 80 percent of people with Type 1 diabetes have some form of eye disease. But retinopathy can also develop within the first year or two after the onset of diabetes. 

Anyone who has blurred vision, notices a change in vision in one eye or sees floating spots should make an appointment quickly with an ophthalmologist.

During the exam, the physician will dilate the eye, or enlarge the pupil, so he or she can look inside to check for signs of the disease.

Early detection, timely treatment, and follow-up care can reduce the risk of vision loss by up to 90 percent.

In addition to yearly eye exams, doctors say it's important for people with diabetes to develop good health habits to preserve their vision. That means watching their diet and maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, not smoking and carefully monitoring and controlling their blood sugar levels.

Our Eyes Reveal Much about Our Overall Health: Eye Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul.   But our eyes can also tell us much about our general health.   During an eye exa...