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What are your eyes telling you about your health?

The old saying goes that the eyes are the window to the soul, but can paying attention to your eyes also offer a window into health problems you may not even know are building up?

Contact lens wearers will likely be paying more attention to their eyes than most, but do you know the early warning signs your eyes could be showing you of potential health problems?

We have a team of fully trained experts on hand to help with all your eye related needs, so to explore the early health messages your eyes could be telling you, vision expert Sujata Paul details the early warning signs to look out for.

White spots on your cornea

Contact lens wearers are at a higher risk of suffering an eye infection if the proper duty and care is not followed when putting in and removing lenses. If you notice any white spots on your cornea, then this could be an indication of a corneal infection or systemic response which would need to be checked by a medical professional.

Eye twitches

Eye twitches can have a variety of reasons behind them, including overindulging in alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, fatigue & stress. While most of these are relatively harmless, it can also be an early warning sign of burnout. If an eye twitch persists, it could be your body’s way of telling you to take some time off and manage your workload.

Puffy and red eyes

If you wake up and find that your eyes are looking puffy and red, it could be an infection or it could be your eye’s way of telling you that your body needs more rest.

While an eye twitch may be more well known as a sign of lack of sleep, a lack of rest can also create irritation for your eyes. If you notice this happening in the morning, then ensuring you get proper rest will allow your eyes time to relax and recuperate.

Blurred vision

Whilst blurred vision could indicate your prescription needs updating, it can also be an early sign of more serious issues such as irregularities in diabetes or cataracts. 

Blood sugar level spikes can damage the blood vessels in your retina, which causes the vessels to become swollen, bleed and potentially leak. This can result in the inability to see with a clear focus and detect details in objects. This can occur in just one or both eyes.  

Most people will notice their vision improving as their blood sugar levels regulate.  

A cataract is the breakdown of protein that clumps together & build-up inside the lens of the eye, causing it to become cloudy. As the lens is responsible for the amount of light that enters your eye, the cataract can reduce the light from entering, which can lead to hazy or blurry vision, as if a thin curtain veil is covering your eyes.  
Cataracts can either affect one or both eyes and tend to occur later in life.

If blurred vision persists, then booking an eye exam with your optician will allow them to diagnose any potential issues based on a retina examination.

Ring around your cornea

If you notice a white ring forming around your iris, this could be a sign that your cholesterol is too high. If your cholesterol is becoming an issue, your eyes are an early indicator as fatty deposits known as lipids will begin to form and create a line around the outside of your cornea.
Those under 40 should keep an extra lookout for these, as it can be a sign of extreme levels of cholesterol which would require an appointment with both your optician and GP.

Floaters

Have you ever wondered what those tiny specks and worm-like shapes are that sometimes appear in your vision? If you have a few floaters in your vision, there’s generally no reason to worry. They’re very common and not harmful. However, if they’re accompanied by flashes of light, or you’ve suddenly noticed a sudden onset of an unusually large number of floaters within a short space of time, they could be a symptom of a more serious problem.
If the more frequent occurrence of floaters is accompanied by temporary vision loss or perceived flashing lights, then it could be indicative of retinal detachment. This condition is considered a medical emergency and may quickly lead to blindness or permanent vision impairment if left untreated.
If you ever suspect you have the symptoms of retinal detachment, contact an eye care professional immediately.

Want to know more about keeping your eyes healthy? Head over to our Vision Hub, filled with expert tips and advice on anything from keeping contact lenses clean to foods that can help your eyesight.