Seniors: What Your Eyes Tell You About Your Health

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What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone new? After the initial smile and a simple handshake, we look into the eyes to begin to make contact and start building a relationship. And while the eyes may be able to tell you a little about the honesty and integrity of a person, more doctors are also saying it can tell you a lot about your health too.

Your eyes are transparent, and with a regular eye exam, a doctor can easily pick up common eye diseases that we all hear about, such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration. Small changes around your eyes can also signify further health problems – things that an eye doctor can catch and direct you to your regular doctor for more investigation.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get busy with day-to-day life and skip out on your yearly eye exam – especially if things seem okay. Before minor problems turn into significant ones, keep a lookout for the following issues.

A Style That Won’t Go Away

A stye is a small raised reddish bump that forms near your inner or outer eyelid. It may seem unsightly and annoying to you, but for the most part, these small bumps will clear up and go away on their own. Styes are plugged oil glands located at the eyelash follicle and are reasonably common. But if they don’t go away on their own, it could be a sign of a cancerous cyst. If a style doesn’t seem to go away or continues to come back again and again in the same spot, it’s worth having a biopsy performed to confirm or deny.

Yellow Bumpy Patches On The Eyelid

If you suddenly find tiny yellow bumps on your eyelids, it may be a warning you have high cholesterol. Also called cholesterol bumps, these tiny bumps are fatty deposits that form on the skin. The problem isn’t serious and doesn’t cause pain. But it could be the first sign of coronary artery disease.

A Small Blind Spot In Your Vision

An ocular migraine (also known as an optical migraine) produces blinded vision without the accompanying headache. It usually starts in the centre of your field of vision and may appear as bright dots or lines that move and disrupt your ability to see properly. It is thought to be triggered by a variety of things ranging from chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and stress. If the impairment lasts more than an hour, your eye doctor can rule out serious problems such as a retinal tear or see if it’s a side effect of something more serious such as a seizure or stroke.

A Bump or Brown Spot on the Eyelid

A bump or brown spot around the eye could signal basal cell carcinoma or skin cancer. A bump usually takes on a pearly colour and may be located in the eyelash area. If the spot turns brown in colour, it may be progressing to malignant melanoma. Either way, have any suspicious spots or sores checked out by a dermatologist or your eye doctor.

Dry Eyes Sensitive To Light

Sjogren’s syndrome is an immune system disorder that impairs the glands in the eyes and mouth that keep them moist. It usually affects women over 40 with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Once detected, it can usually be treated with artificial tears to protect the eyes, and improving your diet, and increasing the amount of water you drink.

Sudden Loss Of Vision or Double Vision

These are visual warning signs of a stroke. Make sure you know what the signs of a stroke are, and get help immediately.

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