Accessibility View Close toolbar

What Do Your Eyes Say About Your Health?

Image of a woman making a window with her fingers over her eyes.

Have you ever wondered why your eye care provider spends so much time carefully examining your eyes? Although they are looking for diseases or conditions that can affect your vision during eye exams, he or she is also searching for signs that may indicate that you have a general health problem. These eight diseases often cause symptoms that can be seen in your eyes.

Diabetes

When your blood sugar is high for a long period of time, the small blood vessels in your retina may begin to leak, causing a condition called diabetic retinopathy. The retina lines the back of your eye and sends light signals to the brain, where they're interpreted as images. When your vessels leak blood or fluid, your vision can become blurred, and you may lose central vision or the ability to see colors. If diabetic retinopathy progresses, new blood vessels form in the retina, worsening vision problems. Prompt treatment of diabetic retinopathy helps prevent permanent damage to your vision.

Cataracts, a condition that occurs when the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy, can be another clue that you may have diabetes. People who have diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop the condition than those who don't, according to the American Diabetes Association. Cataracts may also appear at a younger age and progress more rapidly if you have diabetes.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol occurs when a fatty substance called plaque narrows your arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. In some cases, fat deposits form a partial or full white ring around the edge of your corneas. The deposits, common in older people, can be a sign of cholesterol problem if you're under 40.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Iritis, an inflammation of the iris, may be more likely to occur if you have ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory form of arthritis. Pain often starts in the lower back but can eventually spread to your neck, hips, ribs, shoulders and heels as the disease progresses. If you have iritis, your eye may be painful, red and very sensitive to light.

Liver Damage

Yellow eyes or skin can be a sign of jaundice, a condition that occurs when your liver produces too much bilirubin in response to inflammation or damage. Damage can occur due to viruses, autoimmune disorders, genetic diseases or alcohol abuse.

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle-shaped blood cells block vessels, causing severe pain, anemia and fatigue if you have sickle cell disease. The blood vessels in the eyes can also be affected by the disease. Common eye symptoms of sickle cell disease include eye pain and redness, peripheral vision loss, blurry vision, floaters and jaundice. Blockage of the blood vessels in the retina may lead to a hemorrhage of the retina or vitreous, the clear gel that gives the eye its shape. It's important to see your eye care professional as soon as possible if you have sickle cell disease and notice changes in your vision.

Myasthenia Gravis

Drooping eyelids are the first symptom of myasthenia gravis for 50 percent of people who develop the autoimmune disorder, according to Brigham and Women's Hospital. The disorder attacks and weakens the muscles in your body under your control, such as those in your arms and legs. If you have myasthenia gravis, you may find it hard to walk or hold your head upright. The condition can also affect your ability to chew, speak and breathe.

Heart Disease

It makes sense that blood vessels in the eye would be just as affected as vessels in other parts of your body if you have heart disease. Minor changes to the vessels in your retina, such as swelling or narrowing, or swelling of the base of the optic nerve, may mean that you're at risk of developing heart disease. Luckily, once you know that you have risk factors for heart disease, you can make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce your risk.

Brain and Nerve Conditions

Eye twitches often occur if you're tired, stressed, or if your eye is irritated. Although most eye twitches aren't serious, the symptom can sometimes be a sign of a brain or nerve condition, such as Bell's palsy, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.

Regular visits to your eye care provider not only helps protect your vision, but also safeguards your general health. If it's been a while since you've visited our office, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

American Diabetes Association: Eye Complications, 11/1/13

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/eye-complications/

Brigham and Women's Hospital: Ocular Myasthenia Gravis

http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/neurology/services/NeuroOphthamology/OcularMyasthenia.aspx

WebMD: What Your Eyes Say About Your Health, 8/8/16

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/ss/slideshow-eyes-health

Readers Digest: Shocking Diseases That Eye Doctors Find First

https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/shocking-diseases-eye-doctors-find-first/

Scribd: Early Chronic Condition Detection: Via Eye Exam Study Findings

https://www.scribd.com/doc/240319966/VSP-HCMS-White-Paper-Study?secret_password=WYXzze2C7r2ITaWzg6mJ&irgwc=1&content=10079&campaign=Skimbit%2C%20Ltd.&ad_group=35871X943606Xf3ab1380ea8139d2748ac7f46ac2b856&keyword=ft750noi&source=impactradius&medium=affiliate

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I’m definitely going back! “The most thorough eye exam I ever had was at Envision Eyecare. Plus they have a very helpful and professional staff, a beautiful office space, and an great eclectic selection of unique frames to choose from. I’m definitely going back!”"
    Nancy Hyton
  • "Best eye care in Asheville “If you truly want the best eye care in Asheville and it’s surrounding area you need to visit Envision Eye Care. This group of members makes you feel like your family. I had a full check-up and purchased a pair of sunglasses and the entire process was awesome. Just go visit and you will see what I’m talking about.”"
    Scott Finney
  • "When others had failed, Dr. Golson understood “When I first visited Envision, I was skeptical that Dr. Golson would be able to help with my special circumstances. When others had failed, Dr. Golson understood and was very patient working with me to get my prescriptions correct. The staff is exceptional and greets me by name each time I visit their office. I strongly recommend Envision to fill all your needs for eyecare. And they have awesome frames! Thanks guys and gals at Envision.”"
    Donna Koger
  • "Service and genuine concern for your best interests “I went to Dr. Golson and Envision Eye Care for an eye check recently. The office environment is very pleasant and the staff very helpful. Dr. Golson did a very thorough eye exam and was able to allay any fears I had about my visual health. In addition, I felt no pressure to purchase glasses at their facility. If service and genuine concern for your best interests are of value to you I recommend Dr. Golson and his staff at Envision Eye Care!”"
    Lawrence Hines
  • "Great Experience. “Had an eye emergency and they got me right in. Have since used them for my families eye care. Really good experience in every way.”"
    Katherine Dreyer
  • "Finally, an eye doctor who cares! “Great office with the nicest staff in Asheville. So impressed! I don’t have insurance so I wanted to be sure that my money went to a great local business, so glad my husband recommended them!”"
    Dani Magestro
  • "I trust my eyes to Envision Eye Care! “First, when you enter the office, you are greeted like you are the most important, special person in the world. Second, the staff is extremely professional and friendly and knowledgeable. Dr. Larry is patient eye care is phenomenal! The most conscientious, thorough Dr. I have ever been to!”"
    Karen Paradis

Locations

Find us on the map

Business Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:30 am-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

2:00 pm-7:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-5:30 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-4:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed