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Turns Out the Eyes Could Literally Be a Window to a Person’s Health

24. You’re straining your eyes Broken blood vessels may look alarming, but for the most part, they’re simply an indication that your eyes are working overtime.… Rina - February 26, 2020
Man with beautiful eyes. Unsplash.

24. You’re straining your eyes

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.

Broken blood vessels occur when a tiny blood vessel bursts under the clear surface of your eye (also known as the conjunctiva). Think of it as a painless bruise on your eye. In spite of its gruesome appearance, a subconjunctival hemorrhage should not cause any pain, discharge, or change in your vision. While harmless, broken blood vessels can become a nuisance if they make you self-conscious. The good news is that spider veins are typically treatable. You first need to figure out the underlying cause.

a lot of medication. Unsplash.

25. Anti-anxiety, antidepressants, antipsychotics

There are multiple different classes of anti-anxiety medication which may affect vision and eye health. One of the most commonly prescribed classes of antidepressants are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Side effects of this medication include dry eyes and changes in our near focusing system, affecting our clarity and/or comfort with reading, computer work and focus changes at different distances. Longterm, it has been suggested that there can be changes affecting the blood flow to the nerve that connects the eye to the brain.

Studies indicate a greater risk of glaucoma (a condition affecting your side vision) with SSRI medications, particularly in individuals on stronger medication doses or longer duration. One of the most common eye-related side effects of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications is blurred vision. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, etc. directly affect the pupil and ciliary muscle function of the eye and can make it difficult to focus on near objects.

Looking through the heart. Unsplash.

26. Blood pressure medications

Medications can have a variety of effects on your eyes, ranging from minor, temporary issues such as blurred vision to permanent damage. High or low blood pressure can affect eye health. When taking blood pressure medications, there are some that have been linked with glaucoma (particularly diuretics and calcium channel blockers). Our optometrist check for glaucoma through the use of our OCT (ocular coherence tomography) eye scans, measurement of your eye pressure and more.

Amiodarone (heart medications) this medication often prescribed for an irregular heartbeat can cause multiple eye changes including a whorl-like pattern on the cornea (clear dome at the front of the eye) and it has also been linked with risk of lack of blood flow to the optic nerve. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) this medication is often prescribed for rheumatic disease and was long term prescribed as an antimalaria medication. Research shows that even in low doses it can be toxic to the retina (the thin, sensory layer at the back of the eye). It is important that anyone on this medication has their eye health checked regularly to assess for any changes, particularly at the macula which is used for central vision.

the middle-aged man with glasses. Unsplash.

27. Erectile dysfunction medication

Some men who take ED pills develop visual disturbances, typically in the form of blurred vision, impaired color vision, or a bluish haze. Doctors believe these problems occur because the pills that target PDE-5 also inhibit PDE-6, a related enzyme found in the retina at the rear of the eye.

Sildenafil citrate (Viagra) is a medication that causes a change in blood flow away from the heart. Potential side effects include lack of blood flow to the eye, changes in eye pressure and risk of glaucoma (affecting side vision) and risk of “blue vision” as the medications affect the neurotransmission with the retina, the sensory layer at the back of the eye. A dilated eye examination with OCT scans and retinal photography is important in assessing for these medication-related changes to the retina.

assorted herbs. Unsplash.

28. Herbal supplement side effects

Herbal supplements are quite common, and side effects vary depending on the supplement. Gingko Biloba, Fish oil, and flaxseed oil are natural blood thinners, and thus may interact with other conditions and cause longer bleeding times to the eyes and body. Canthaxanthin is an oral supplement that acts as a tanning agent and causes crystals to deposit in the retina which can affect vision. are all associated with clinically significant ocular side effects.

Also, vitamin deficiencies can cause vision issues as well. In extreme cases, vitamin B12 deficiency can damage the optic nerve. This is because it plays a key role in the health of nerves, along with the nervous system as a whole. Optic nerve damage may lead to blurry vision, double vision, or sensitivity to light. In serious instances, it can even cause vision loss.

a man covers eyes, blinds. Unsplash.

29. Loss of vision from poor diet

Did you know that poor diet can lead to vision loss? Consider this, a 14-year-old boy goes to the doctor with complaints of tiredness. He’s an extremely picky eater. His daily diet consists of French fries, potato chips, white bread, and some processed pork. Overall, he appears OK. He’s not overweight and takes no medications. Then tests showed that he had anemia and low levels of vitamin B12, so he was given B12 injections and diet advice.

One year later, he has begun to lose his vision. Then, by age 17, he’s legally blind. Turns out, the boy’s highly limited daily diet, lacking in any healthy foods, vitamins and minerals -had led to optic neuropathy. That’s the conclusion of researchers from the University of Bristol in England, who have published a case study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

an eye in rainbow reflection. Unsplash.

30. What is Iridology?

Iridology is the scientific analysis of the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. The study of an iris reveals health problems and constitution, and this is done by examination of the color, markings, and spots on the iris.  Each body organ and gland is located on either the left or right iris, organs on the left side of
the body show in the left iris and on the right side the right iris, anything in the center shows up on both irises.

How Does Iridology Work?
Iridology was discovered in the 1800s by a physician called Ignatz Von Peczely. He later went on to map out the first chart of Iridology. The iris is a complicated part of our anatomy it is composed of hundreds of thousands of nerve endings that are connected by impulses to every tissue in the body through the brain and nervous system.

These nerve fibers respond to specific ailments in our body by changing color or developing lesions. The iris is studied by superimposing an iris chart over an enlarged image of an iris. Iridology is not a restorative therapy. It doesn’t cure and it doesn’t pinpoint particular ailments. Iridology identifies weaknesses or overactivity in the body so that future problems can be avoided.

the girl looks hopeful. Unsplash.

30. Take care of your eyes

As cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) It’s important to take care of your eyes. Poor vision makes it harder to read, drive, and cook. An eye care professional will examine your eyes for signs of vision problems or eye diseases. It’s the best way to find out if you need glasses or contacts, or are in the early stages of a serious but treatable eye disease.

  1. There are nine ways you can help protect your vision:
    1. Get a dilated eye exam
    2. Know your family’s eye health history
    3. Eat right to protect your sight, in particular, eat plenty of dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens, and fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids
    4. Maintain a healthy weight
    5. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home
    6. Quit smoking
    7. Wear sunglasses that block 99 percent100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
    8. Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly to avoid the risk of infection.
    9. Practice workplace eye safety.

Here are our sources, where did we find this stuff?

https://www.cdc.gov/media/matte/2012/08-healthy-vision.pdf?cid=2012_08_healthy_vision
cbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15488795
https://www.healio.com/ophthalmology/cornea-external-disease/news/print/ocular-surgery-news/%7B5cc4f557-886f-411e-9411-02e4b109bcdc%7D/heart-disease-ocular-health-share-important-common-ground-in-women

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