The eyes are often called “the windows to the soul,” but more often they can be a window to your health. Changes to your eyes, such as blurry vision, eye floaters, and bloodshot eyes, can tip you off to a problem with your health.
In today’s video, we’ll look at the top THREE symptoms of heart disease your eyes reveal, as well as FIVE other health conditions.
Did you know that the eye is the only place in the body where a doctor can see the live action of blood vessels, nerves and connecting tissue, without relying on an invasive procedure?
It turns out the arrangement of blood vessels at the back of the eyes is closely connected to the health of your heart.
When decreased blood flow caused by heart disease, known as Ischemia, leads to inadequate blood flow to the eyes, and causes cells in the retina to die, it leaves behind permanent marks.
These marks are the reason eye doctors are often the first to spot health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and more.
So, it’s no exaggeration to say that a comprehensive eye exam can save not just your eyesight, but also your life.
Now, let’s get on with our Number 8. High Blood Pressure.
An eye doctor or ophthalmologist can look at the blood vessels in your eyes using an imaging tool and detect signs of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can cause retinopathy or damage to the eye’s primary blood supply.
And this can lead to blurred vision, bleeding in the eyes, blood clots, swelling, damage to the nerves or even a stroke in the retina, resulting in complete loss of vision.
To detect high blood pressure, the ophthalmologist will see if there are changes in the ratio or shape of retinal vessels or if there are small blood clots in the eyes.
In healthy individuals, the ratio between the size of retinal arteries to veins is supposed to be approximately two to three.
So, if the artery is a lot smaller than the vein, or the vein is a lot bigger and dilated, that may show high blood pressure or cardiovascular risk factors.
Next we have Number 7. Blocked Arteries.
Hypertension isn’t the only heart-related condition that can be detected in the eye.
During an eye exam, an ophthalmologist can see if there is any embolus in the eye.
An embolus is a blood clot or a piece of plaque that acts like a clot.
When the clot travels from the site where it formed to another location in the body, it is called an embolism.
An arterial embolism occurs when an embolus has traveled through the arteries and become stuck in small vessels or organs like the brain or the retina.
An arterial embolism may be caused by one or more clots.
When arterial blockages occur in the brain, it’s called a stroke.
When it happens near the heart, it’s called a heart attack.
And when it happens in the eyes, it’s known as retinal arterial occlusion.
This condition can lead to the death of nerve cells in the eye, which can cause or worsen vision loss.
Some individuals may regain their vision one year after experiencing an eye stroke, but their vision may never fully recover.
People who are older or have high blood pressure, glaucoma, or diabetes are at higher risk of developing this eye condition.
Next on our list, Number 6 is High Cholesterol.
Cholesterol plays an important role in human tissue, but too much of the wrong type can turn into plaque buildup and narrow arterial walls.
The “wrong type” refers to high levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, and not normal LDL cholesterol.
Oxidized cholesterol is what causes the damage to artery walls and increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke.
LDL cholesterol by itself is not bad. It is required to transport fat and cholesterol to the locations throughout our bodies where they are needed.
And guess where oxidized cholesterol comes from?
That’s right, if you’ve watched our video on inflammation, you already know that prolonged consumption of oxidized vegetable seed oils and high-fructose-corn-syrup is a major dietary cause.
Now, back to our eyes. Through an OCT scan, your eye doctor can detect signs of high cholesterol by looking at your eyelids, cornea, and retina.
There’s an eye symptom called Xanthelasma, and it’s commonly linked to high cholesterol.
Xanthelasma occurs as yellow fatty deposits of cholesterol that show up on the eyelids or on the skin around the eyelids or near the nose.
This condition is more common in individuals who are overweight, have diabetes or have high blood pressure.
Another condition called arcus senilis can also point to high cholesterol.
Normally, the cornea is a clear tissue on the front of the eye, but when cholesterol deposits develop, it causes a white or gray ring to develop along the outer edge.
It’s important to note that not every person with arcus senilis has high cholesterol. However, if high cholesterol runs in your family, you’re more likely to develop this eye condition.
Now that we’ve covered the top 3 cardiovascular symptoms, let’s look at what else your eyes may reveal about your health.
Next on our list is Number 5. Diabetes.
The tiny blood vessels that supply your retina can be a telltale sign of diabetes.
What happens is, when these blood vessels are damaged from high blood sugar levels, they can leak blood into the retina and distort vision.
Your ophthalmologist can see this during a dilated eye exam.
This condition is known as diabetic retinopathy. Early symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurred vision, floaters, loss of central vision, and dark spots in the field of vision.
You may have experienced floaters before. These are small, dust-like specks that seem to move when your eyes move.
They are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye.
These things appear to be in front of your eyes, but they are, in fact, floating within it.
Now, if you see floaters in your field of vision, it’s usually a normal part of aging, unless you have diabetes.
What happens during diabetic retinopathy is that the retina grows new blood vessels through a process called “neovascularization,” and these often bleed into the vitreous.
If they only bleed a little, you may see a few dark floaters. If they bleed a lot, it may block all vision.
In the worst case, this could lead to the eye developing scar tissue and a detached retina, which can cause blindness.
If diabetic retinopathy is a suspected cause for your floaters, you should also look out for other signs of diabetes.
These include excessive thirst or hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, recurring infections, unexplained weight loss, numbness in the hands or feet, and certain skin symptoms, including darkened patches of skin.
Fortunately, diabetic retinopathy can be reversed naturally. To see our recommended solution to reverse diabetes and complications like neuropathy and retinopathy, click the link below.
Next, we have Number 4. Brain tumors.
When a brain tumor forms and causes swelling and increased pressure in the brain, its impact can be seen in the back of the eye.
There may also be pressure on the optic nerve your eye doctor can detect.
In addition, some individuals may notice double vision, loss of peripheral vision, or a change to their pupil size, sometimes on just one side.
Coming up, Number 3 is Lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.
Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, lungs and your eyes.
Lupus can cause changes in the skin around the eyelids, dry eyes, inflammation of the white outer layer of the eyeball, blood vessel changes in the retina, and damage to nerves controlling eye movement, thus affecting vision.
On to Number 2. Thyroid disease.
If the eyeballs are bulging or protruding from eyelids that seem to retract, an eye specialist may suspect an overactive thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism, which is often caused by Grave’s Disease.
This condition affects the tissues and muscles around the eye and symptoms may also include blurry vision, vision loss or dry eyes.
And at Number 1, we have Rheumatoid Arthritis.
A routine eye exam can also reveal systemic inflammatory diseases that cause arthritis and inflammation in other parts of the body.
Patients who experience dry eyes, red eyes and severe pain may exhibit signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
Pain and redness may be symptoms of scleritis, a painful inflammatory condition of the sclera, the white part of your eye.
The inflammation can sometimes make the white part of the eye look purple.
Pain from scleritis is usually the worst at night and can even spread to your face and jaw.
There you have it! The top 3 symptoms of heart disease your eyes reveal and 5 other health conditions.
Other signs of health risks your eyes can show, include glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, cognitive decline, liver and lung disease, as well as multiple sclerosis.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
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And now, over to you: Have you experienced any of these eye symptoms?
Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
To learn how you can erase artery plaque and lower blood pressure, click the link in the description.