The eyes are the window to the soul, but they can also tell us about your health as well. As many of you know, Dr. Bernard Jensen dedicated his life to natural healing and has pioneered iridology in the United States. For those that do not know, Iridology is the study of the iris in your eye. The iris is the colored part of the eye that controls the amount of light that enters your eyes by making your pupil smaller or larger.
- You could have an infection.
Do you wear contact lenses instead of glasses? Watch out for white spots on your cornea (that clear layer over the front of your eyeball). Contacts create a barrier around your cornea, which prevents fluids like tears from reaching your eyes, drying them out. This can allow for bacteria to grow inside on your cornea, which can lead to an eye infection. Although you may not feel any personal discomfort when you wear your contacts overnight, keeping them in too long can create irreversible damage to your eyes. Linda Thomas of the Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute described many dangers associated with keeping contact lenses in your eyes too long. Some of the dangers include:
Conjunctivitis – More commonly known as “Pink Eye”. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the soft membrane that covers the whites of your eyes as well as the eyelids themselves. Conjunctivitis symptoms are displayed when you see red puffiness of the eyes. Other symptoms of conjunctivitis include oozing, itchiness, and general discomfort.(1)
Keratitis – This condition is very similar to conjunctivitis, but only affects the cornea. It has similar side effects of conjunctivitis like itching and discomfort but also has more harmful effects. Keratitis causes internal damage to your eyes, which can lead to partial vision loss. It’s important to know that people who sleep with contacts overnight are much more likely to develop this condition than people who wear contacts for the recommended period of time.(1)
Corneal Neovascularization – When you wear your contacts for too long, you’re sealing off your eyes from getting the fluids they need, but you’re also cutting off your eyes’ supply of oxygen. Because your eyes are getting less oxygen, they will try to grow new blood vessels in an effort to increase the flow of oxygen. These extra blood vessels prevent light from traveling through the cornea, which will ultimately cause vision damage.(1)
2. You're too stressed.
When we are severely stressed and anxious, high levels of adrenaline in the body can cause pressure on the eyes, resulting in blurred vision. People with long-term anxiety can suffer from eye strain during the day on a regular basis.
Symptoms of Stress Related Vision Impairment:
- Sensitivity to light and movement; light may hurt your eyes or make it difficult for you to concentrate, and focus.
- Eye twitching; eyes can randomly spasm, with no pain but discomfort.
- Very dry or very wet eyes; both can be a symptom, however, can also be caused by other issues.
- Blurry vision; finding it hard to concentrate, or focus. If you have additional symptoms, visit your local GP.
- Eye strain; discomfort and minor pain as your eyes feel tight and swollen.
- Eye floaters; tiny spots that swim across your vision. (2)
If you have any of these symptoms but do not have other medical issues, the best option for you is to get enough rest, eat healthy, meditate, or find other ways to relieve stress like going for a walk or some other exercises that help you to relax. Take at least a few minutes a day to consciously relax. That will help your body calm down.
3. You could have diabetes.
Blurred vision usually means you need glasses — but you should have your eyes checked no matter what. Not only can blurred vision signal a medical problem with the eye itself (like cataracts or macular degeneration), it can also be a sign of a more serious illness like diabetes. Diabetes affects your eyes when your blood sugar is too high. High blood sugar levels can change the fluid levels or cause swelling in the tissues of your eye causing blurred vision. This type of blurry vision is temporary and goes away when your glucose level gets closer to normal.
If your blood glucose stays high over time, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes. Damaged blood vessels may leak fluid and cause swelling. According to the National Institute of Health, there are four main eye diseases that can threaten your sight. They are:
- Diabetic retinopathy - When damaged blood vessels harm the retina.
- Diabetic macular edema - When diabetes leads to swelling in the macula
- Glaucoma - a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve.
- Cataracts - When the lenses of your eyes become cloudy
Symptoms of diabetic eye disease:
- blurry or wavy vision
- frequently changing vision—sometimes from day to day
- dark areas or vision loss
- poor color vision
- spots or dark strings (also called floaters)
- flashes of light (3)
Talk with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. An August 2014 study found that 73% of diabetic patients sampled reported blurred vision. Even without trouble seeing, your ophthalmologist may be able to detect diabetes during an eye exam based on irregularities in your retina.
4. Your cholesterol is too high.
If you notice a white ring forming around your iris, it might be time to visit your ophthalmologist as well as your General Practitioner for a check-up. While this particular color change is most commonly a sign of aging, it can also be an indication of high cholesterol and triglycerides which might mean an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Abnormal blood pressure and cholesterol can cause the sensitive blood vessels of your eye to weaken and thin, which interferes with the health of your eye so if you notice any changes, it is best to consult with a professional right away.
5. Your blood pressure is too high.
In addition to upping your risk for heart disease and strokes, untreated high blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels in your retina, known as hypertensive retinopathy. You can not see the effects in the mirror, but your doctor will be able to spot the damage during your next eye exam. This gives you even more reason to stick to your annual screenings, Finding about high blood pressure early could actually save your life.
6. You have allergies.
If your eyes are super dry and the skin around them is looking a little worn, you might be unconsciously rubbing your eyes too often. Rubbing your eye hard or often can cause your eyelid to become looser, more relaxed and even saggy. They can make your eyes red, itchy, burning, and watery, and cause swollen eyelids. If the eyelid sags away from the eye, it not only causes wrinkles, but also allows increased exposure to air and can make the eye become too dry. One of the most common culprits of itchy eyes: seasonal allergies.
Here are some DIY remedies to treat mild cases of seasonal allergies that impact your eyes:
- Keep the windows shut in your car and home—especially in the early morning hours when pollination tends to occur.
- Wear wrap-around glasses or sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.
- Place a cold compress over your eyes to soothe discomfort.
- Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to flush out any irritants.
- Try an over-the-counter remedy like allergy eye drops, oral antihistamines, or other medication for mild allergies.
It's important to note that allergy eye drops can offer immediate relief, but with long-term use, they can weaken blood vessels in your eyes and make your eyes redder. (4)
7. Your retina could be in danger.
You know those little specks that move around your field of vision sometimes? They're called eye floaters. They may look to you like black or gray specks, strings, or cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes and appear to dart away when you try to look at them directly. While they're relatively common, they also shouldn't be dismissed. Medical professionals warn that a sudden increase in the number of floaters you see could be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment (yikes!).
Symptoms of eye floaters include:
- Small shapes in your vision that appear as dark specks or knobby, transparent strings of floating material
- Spots that move when you move your eyes, so when you try to look at them, they move quickly out of your visual field
- Spots that are most noticeable when you look at a plain bright background, such as a blue sky or a white wall
- Small shapes or strings that eventually settle down and drift out of the line of vision.
As mentioned earlier, eye floaters are very common, but they can easily be an indicator of something more severe. Here are some examples of what causes eye floaters:
- Age-related eye changes
- Inflammation in the back of the eye.
- Bleeding in the eye.
- Torn retina
- Eye surgeries and eye medications.
Here is a list of factors that can increase your risk of eye floaters.
- Age over 50
- Eye trauma
- Complications from cataract surgery
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye inflammation (5)
8. You need more sleep
It can be easy to spot someone who did not get enough sleep: dark circles, puffy eyes, or drooping eyelids can be signs of a poor night’s rest. If you notice that your eyes are puffy and red, don't assume you have an infection. It might just be a sign that you're tired. Not getting enough sleep can lead to having dry, itchy, or bloodshot eyes. The eyes may even produce less tears after a night of insufficient sleep. This can open the door to potential eye infections. You also may experience eye twitches or spasms when you have not had enough sleep. Your eyes may even be more sensitive to light, or you may have blurry vision. Sleep deprivation could lead to serious long term eye problems, such as glaucoma.
9. You could have jaundice
If the whites of your eyes are yellowing like old paper, it should come as no surprise that this is definitely a warning sign something is wrong in your body.
Yellow eyes are caused by jaundice. Jaundice is a condition that occurs when there's too much bilirubin — a yellow compound formed from the breakdown of red blood cells — in your blood. If your liver can't filter the cells, bilirubin builds up and can cause your eyes and skin to turn yellow. It’s good to know that jaundice itself is not a disease. However, it is a sign of an underlying medical condition. It's pretty rare in adults (sometimes babies are born with jaundice), but much of the time it's due to an infection like hepatitis, alcohol-related liver disease, or something blocking your bile ducts like gallstones or cancer.
10. You're spending too much time on the computer
A recent study from Hopkins medicine found that the average office worker spends 1,700 hours per year in front of a computer screen — and that was before many of us began working from home.(7) And as much as we love Netflix, too much screen time could be causing your eyes to strain and tear up. There is a term called the screen effect. That is when you spend hours a day staring at tiny pixels, your eyes strain from the effort. This can lead to headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. (6)
1. You're straining your eyes
Eye strain is a consequence of focusing intensely on an activity or object for extended periods of time. Overworking your eyes in this manner can increase the possibility of ocular fatigue. Eye strain can be caused by many things, from staring at a computer for long periods of time, driving for a significant distance, reading fine print or doing a lot of detailed work up close. Broken blood vessels may look alarming, but for the most part they're simply an indication that your eyes are working overtime. It most likely is caused by coughing or straining Even though it looks blood-red and terrible, it is harmless and not indicative of any eye disease.
12. You're getting too much sun
Some people develop a yellowish patch or bump on the whites to the side of their iris, called a pinguecula. A small percentage of these are precancerous, but usually they are not. What causes them? They are most often seen in people who spend a lot of time in the sun and are similar to a callus on the skin.