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What Do Your Eyes Say About Your Health?

Image of a woman making a window with her fingers over her eyes.

Have you ever wondered why your eye care provider spends so much time carefully examining your eyes? Although they are looking for diseases or conditions that can affect your vision during eye exams, he or she is also searching for signs that may indicate that you have a general health problem. These eight diseases often cause symptoms that can be seen in your eyes.

Diabetes

When your blood sugar is high for a long period of time, the small blood vessels in your retina may begin to leak, causing a condition called diabetic retinopathy. The retina lines the back of your eye and sends light signals to the brain, where they're interpreted as images. When your vessels leak blood or fluid, your vision can become blurred, and you may lose central vision or the ability to see colors. If diabetic retinopathy progresses, new blood vessels form in the retina, worsening vision problems. Prompt treatment of diabetic retinopathy helps prevent permanent damage to your vision.

Cataracts, a condition that occurs when the clear lens inside your eye becomes cloudy, can be another clue that you may have diabetes. People who have diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop the condition than those who don't, according to the American Diabetes Association. Cataracts may also appear at a younger age and progress more rapidly if you have diabetes.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol occurs when a fatty substance called plaque narrows your arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. In some cases, fat deposits form a partial or full white ring around the edge of your corneas. The deposits, common in older people, can be a sign of cholesterol problem if you're under 40.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Iritis, an inflammation of the iris, may be more likely to occur if you have ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory form of arthritis. Pain often starts in the lower back but can eventually spread to your neck, hips, ribs, shoulders and heels as the disease progresses. If you have iritis, your eye may be painful, red and very sensitive to light.

Liver Damage

Yellow eyes or skin can be a sign of jaundice, a condition that occurs when your liver produces too much bilirubin in response to inflammation or damage. Damage can occur due to viruses, autoimmune disorders, genetic diseases or alcohol abuse.

Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle-shaped blood cells block vessels, causing severe pain, anemia and fatigue if you have sickle cell disease. The blood vessels in the eyes can also be affected by the disease. Common eye symptoms of sickle cell disease include eye pain and redness, peripheral vision loss, blurry vision, floaters and jaundice. Blockage of the blood vessels in the retina may lead to a hemorrhage of the retina or vitreous, the clear gel that gives the eye its shape. It's important to see your eye care professional as soon as possible if you have sickle cell disease and notice changes in your vision.

Myasthenia Gravis

Drooping eyelids are the first symptom of myasthenia gravis for 50 percent of people who develop the autoimmune disorder, according to Brigham and Women's Hospital. The disorder attacks and weakens the muscles in your body under your control, such as those in your arms and legs. If you have myasthenia gravis, you may find it hard to walk or hold your head upright. The condition can also affect your ability to chew, speak and breathe.

Heart Disease

It makes sense that blood vessels in the eye would be just as affected as vessels in other parts of your body if you have heart disease. Minor changes to the vessels in your retina, such as swelling or narrowing, or swelling of the base of the optic nerve, may mean that you're at risk of developing heart disease. Luckily, once you know that you have risk factors for heart disease, you can make diet and lifestyle changes to reduce your risk.

Brain and Nerve Conditions

Eye twitches often occur if you're tired, stressed, or if your eye is irritated. Although most eye twitches aren't serious, the symptom can sometimes be a sign of a brain or nerve condition, such as Bell's palsy, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.

Regular visits to your eye care provider not only helps protect your vision, but also safeguards your general health. If it's been a while since you've visited our office, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

American Diabetes Association: Eye Complications, 11/1/13

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/eye-complications/

Brigham and Women's Hospital: Ocular Myasthenia Gravis

http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/neurology/services/NeuroOphthamology/OcularMyasthenia.aspx

WebMD: What Your Eyes Say About Your Health, 8/8/16

https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/ss/slideshow-eyes-health

Readers Digest: Shocking Diseases That Eye Doctors Find First

https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/shocking-diseases-eye-doctors-find-first/

Scribd: Early Chronic Condition Detection: Via Eye Exam Study Findings

https://www.scribd.com/doc/240319966/VSP-HCMS-White-Paper-Study?secret_password=WYXzze2C7r2ITaWzg6mJ&irgwc=1&content=10079&campaign=Skimbit%2C%20Ltd.&ad_group=35871X943606Xf3ab1380ea8139d2748ac7f46ac2b856&keyword=ft750noi&source=impactradius&medium=affiliate

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Clients

  • "Had my annual eye exam this morning at Lake Lanier Eye Care. I elected to have all the tests and afterwards,Dr. Bordner reveiwed them indificually with me and reported that my vision was really good! Excellent experience with Amy, Diane and Dr. Brett Bordner, OD."
    Cheryl Carr / Facebook Review
  • "My visit to Lake Lanier Eye Care was pleasant and painless. From start to finish, the staff there exemplifies excellence and professionalism and has made a visit to the optometrist’s office an experience I look forward to rather than hope to avoid."
    Ashlee S. / Google Review
  • "Love everybody here! Wonderful experience!"
    Allison Fuller / Google Review
  • "Dr. Brett Bordner is fantastic! He is very patient and spends a lot of time with each and every person and explains everything he does. He makes you feel valued and very comfortable throughout the appointment. Highly recommended!"
    Sarah Clark / Google Review
  • "his was an amazing experience. The staff is extremely professional and the doctor was very knowledgeable. I highly recommend them!!!!"
    Laura Milum / Google Review
  • "My husband and I came to Lake Lanier Eye Care because the people are extremely friendly. We came in on our scheduled time and were completely done in 20 minutes! The service, cost and location are TOP NOTCH!
    Check out the Daytona Imaging. The service they provide with this imaging tops any dilation I have ever had. If you need help, call! They are ready to answer any question."
    Hayley Bean / Google Review
  • "The staff at Lake Lanier go all in. They are friendly from the moment they pick up the phone to the moment you walk out. My wife and I were excited to meet them the minute we called and couldn’t wait to get in! I highly recommend getting the Daytona Imaging. It is interesting to see your eye AND you don’t need dilation! Win, win!
    Conveniently located in Costco, so get you’re shopping done right after. You’ll be able to see what you’re getting then!"
    Cayce Koehler / Google Review
  • "Dr. Brett and his staff are very nice and extremely helpful. Easy and quick appointment. I highly recommend theake Lanier Eyecare at Costco in Cumming"
    Roella Day / Google Review
  • "Took care of an eye infection and very professional in my treatment."
    Ronald Swanson / Google Review
  • "My whole family uses this practice. Convenient location, great office staff, late day appointments and weekends too make this the perfect eye care facility for us."
    Bekki Davis / Google Review
  • "Staff is so nice & helping. Occulist was very nice & knowledgable . Felt very relaxed after mine eye check up."
    shweta feb / Google Review
  • "I was struggling with wearing glasses and contacts so Dr. Brett suggested I try Ortho K. After a short time period my vision was 20/20 and I no longer needed my glasses or contacts during the day. He was knowledgeable and took the time to explain the process making it a far more comfortable experience."
    Melody Million / Google Review
  • "I was blown away by this practice. The doctor & all the people there are so, so kind. Also, their equipment was really awesome. I feel like over the years I haven’t been getting the best exams as this equipment was far superior to other places. I was really amazed by it & the huge difference in my eye sight in one year leads me to believe that is obvious to be true.
    Also, I had been in a really bad car accident where I hit the windshield & has 2 dark black eyes. It was a coincidence that I needed a new prescription for my contacts. Having them exam my eyes and do the extra testing gave me such a huge peace.
    I could go on as I really appreciate a great business with super kind people who all do their job so well. I took my mom back a week later & she agreed. I will continue to go there for years to come."
    A. D. / Google Review
  • "Great folks here! Very helpful. Get your eyes checked people!"
    Kim Zweig / Facebook Review
  • "Ann is so sweet and professional at the same time. got me scheduled very quickly! Dr Bordner is very kind and makes you feel taken care of"
    Allison Kristen Keever / Facebook Review
  • "Wonder place and pricing"
    Rob Zweig / Google Review
  • "The staff was very friendly and efficient - highly recommend this office ."
    Leslie Jones / Google Review
  • "Great doctor and staff, very welcoming!"
    Tiaris Ayala / Google Review
  • "The doctor is very knowledgeable and kind. The entire staff was very helpful. I will be returning yearly!"
    Laurie Shillington / Google Review