The human body is incredibly interconnected. Trillions of cells, dozens of organs and a highly complex vascular system all work together to keep you alive and healthy. Consequently, if one of your body’s systems develops a problem, it can cause trouble in other seemingly unrelated areas.
For example, many medical conditions that you may not necessarily associate with your eyes can impinge on your ocular health and vision. Take a moment to learn about several health conditions that can affect your eyes from Dr. Ernest Kornmehl.
Diabetes can cause serious eye-related complications (particularly if the disease is not well-controlled by medication and lifestyle choices). People with diabetes are at an increased risk of adverse changes or damage to the tiny blood vessels of the retina, which is known as diabetic retinopathy. These changes can cause swelling in the macula, or the area of the retina responsible for central vision. Also, diabetes is a risk factor for cataracts and glaucoma. Each of these conditions, which fall under the category of “diabetic eye disease,” can lead to irreversible vision loss if not properly managed.
High Blood Pressure
Another health condition that can threaten the blood vessels of the retina is high blood pressure (a.k.a., hypertension). The higher the blood pressure and the longer the history of blood pressure problems, the more likely the retinal blood vessels are to experience severe damage. The veins or arteries can become blocked; or, the blood vessels can leak blood and other fluids, possibly causing swelling of the macula and/or optic nerve that leads to vision loss.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that are critical for cellular function. Problems affecting the thyroid gland can raise the risk of thyroid eye disease — the symptoms of which include dry eyes, red eyes, bulging eyes, double vision and problems focusing. Some people with thyroid eye disease also have a hard time closing their eyelids, which can lead to corneal ulcers and related complications.
Over half of people diagnosed with the inflammatory condition rosacea see a related adverse effect on their eyes. Ocular rosacea can cause red or bloodshot eyes, swelling around the eyes, tearing, dry eyes, a “foreign body” sensation and other uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, the symptoms of ocular rosacea are commonly overlooked or confused with the symptoms of allergies or contact lens-related problems and therefore not treated appropriately.
If you have a history of any of these medical conditions, the best way to stay on top of your eye health is by getting regular eye exams. During your exams, make sure Dr. Kornmehl has an up-to-date medical history and a list of the medications you currently take. He can explain the effect of these conditions on your eyes in more detail, and suggest things to do to reduce your risk of ocular problems.
To request an appointment with Dr. Kornmehl, please call or email us today.