6 Things Your Eyes Can Tell You About Your Health

Your eyes are not only the window to your soul—they’re also the window to your health. When we pay attention to our bodies, we shouldn’t forget to give our eyes proper attention.

“While many visual concerns can readily be self-detected due to a perception of blurring eye sight, many systemic and ocular disorders (including early macular degeneration, diabetic disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and others) may remain silent until damage has reached critical stages,” says ophthalmologist Dr. Kerry Assil. “An annual eye exam may serve to diagnose, prevent or treat such conditions.”

Here are six things your eyes can tell you about your health.

1. Jaundice

Yellow discoloration of a normally white surface of your eye can indicate jaundice. “This is caused by a rise in serum bilirubin (due to liver disease) and can be detected by an observed naked eye,” says Assil.

2. Stress

If you’re eye is twitching, everything is probably okay up there, but it’s likely a sign of stress. It could also indicate fatigue or too much caffeine.

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3. Diabetes

Blurred vision can just mean you need some glasses or contacts, but it could also mean you have diabetes. A study from 2014 found that 73 percent of diabetic patients reported blurred vision as a symptom. 

4. Droopy Eyelid

A one-sided droopy eyelid, coupled with a disparate pupil size, may be triggered by silent conditions, ranging from pending major arterial mishaps, to certain lung cancers. However, it is most typically associated with more benign conditions (such as incidental trauma to the nerve connecting to the eyelid and pupil).

5. Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease can often first be detected in the eye due to the appearance of unusually widely open eyes (eyelid retraction) or the appearance of double vision, says Assil.

6. Dehydration

If your eyes are often red, you may be dehydrated. “Due to dilation of the surface blood vessels, red eyes can be a sign of dehydration,” says Assil. Drink up and redness may subside.

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