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Top 12 Medical Conditions That Can Affect One’s Eye Health

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If you want to maintain good eye health for a lifetime, it’s crucial to have optimum overall health. Protecting your eyes from trauma and the sun is essential, but eating well, doing regular checkups, and exercising can go a long way to avoid some sorts of ocular health issues later in life.

Unfortunately, several medical conditions, even if not directly related to the eyes, may have lasting effects on your vision and can result in serious eye problems if not treated immediately. Below are some of the medical conditions that may affect your eye health:

  • Diabetes

People who have diabetes are at risk of diabetic retinopathy, which is an eye condition that damages your retina’s blood vessels, causing blindness or vision loss. Diabetics may also be at risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.

If you’re suffering from diabetes, getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam is vital. It’s because diabetic retinopathy may not have symptoms at first. However, discovering it early may help you take the necessary steps to protect your vision. With treatment, this eye condition can also be reversed.

  • Migraines

A migraine is a severe headache that causes sound and light sensitivity. Sun glare, strong smells, and bright light are common triggers for people who suffer from migraines. Moreover, missing sleep or changing your sleeping patterns may also lead to migraines.

Another kind of migraine is known as ocular migraine, which is less painful and affects your eye health. When ocular migraine happens, the blood vessels in your optic nerves swell and tighten, causing visual distortions like looking through a kaleidoscope.

People who suffer from ocular migraines must try to relax until the migraine ends. It’s also good to know that there’s medication that can help prevent ocular migraines. If you don’t know the best medications to consider, ask your doctor and take the medications as prescribed.

  • Autoimmune Conditions

There are several types of autoimmune diseases that may impact your vision. In some cases, eye problems are among the first symptoms of such health conditions. Oftentimes, patients may experience itchy, red, or dry eyes. If the condition isn’t treated or diagnosed immediately, patients may experience changes to vision quality, eye pain, vision loss, and light sensitivity.

One of the autoimmune disorders that may affect your eyes is Neuromyelitis Optica. It affects the nerves of your eyes and your central nervous system.

  • High Blood Pressure

Many people suffer from high blood pressure, and only a few can properly manage it. It’s also referred to as hypertension and can damage the blood vessels in your eyes and may result in glaucoma.

Glaucoma happens when there’s increased pressure within the eyes, which is linked to fluid buildup. Since there isn’t any outward symptom of early glaucoma, doctors recommend getting tested annually for glaucoma. In addition, people with glaucoma often experience irreversible and gradual vision loss when left untreated.

Furthermore, your doctor can treat high blood pressure with medication and advise you to eat a healthy balanced diet that includes green leafy vegetables. It’s also crucial to exercise at least five times a week for 30 minutes.

  • Sickle Cell Disease

Patients with sickle cell disease develop abnormally shaped red blood cells when there’s a low oxygen level. Such sickled red blood cells don’t flow properly through the small blood vessels and can become stiff.

Once the sickle cells block your body’s blood flow, extreme pain may occur because of blood-starved tissues. Sickle cell disease may also affect other body organs, including the eyes. Some of the signs may include:

  • Weakening of the iris
  • Eye redness
  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Retinal detachment
  • Pigmentations in your retinal periphery

A common eye complication linked with sickle cell disease is called sea fan-shaped blood vessels, representing the eye’s attempt to supply the retina with sufficient oxygen. It may seem like a positive thing, but the growth of new blood vessels is weak and may leak blood and fluid. These blood vessels may also create traction on your retina and tear them loose.

  • Rosacea

Most people who suffer from rosacea experience eye involvement, also known as Ocular Rosacea. The symptoms are dryness, redness, tearing, burning, itching, and a gritty feeling in the eyes. Other people also experience high sensitivity to light and swollen eyelids.

Typically, this medical condition responds well to treatments when doctors diagnose it early. However, it may result in vision loss if it becomes severe.

Fortunately, effective medical therapy is available. If you suffer from Ocular Rosacea, make sure to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

  • Lyme Disease

It’s one of the infectious diseases due to an infected bite of ticks. People with Lyme disease will experience a bullseye-shaped rash developing in the area where they were first bitten and they might also suffer from headaches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and fever.

Lyme disease may cause pink eye, also known as Conjunctivitis. People suffering from it may experience itchy, gritty, and red eyes with discharge forming around the eyelid and eyeball.

In severe cases of Lyme disease, the optic nerves can be inflamed, causing eye pain, vision loss, blurred vision, and loss of color vision. So, make sure to seek immediate medical help if you have Lyme disease to prevent any symptoms from worsening.

  • Measles

While most people are vaccinated to prevent measles, some cases still occur among adults and children. If measles affects your eyes, it can lead to Conjunctivitis. Once inflammation worsens, the condition may result in cornea infections, optic nerve infections, corneal damage, and vision loss.

  • Rheumatic Disease

Any rheumatic disease like arthritis may cause your immune system to attack your organs, joints, and muscles. This medical condition has mild to severe effects on your eyes.

A rheumatic disease may result in blurry vision or dry eyes in mild cases. If dry eyes are not treated immediately, it may damage your cornea and prevent your eyes from focusing.

Additionally, rheumatic diseases may also present serious threats to your vision. If you’re suffering from a rheumatic illness, regularly schedule a visit with your eye doctor to keep your eye health monitored and protected.

  • Liver Disease

Once you think of liver disease, you’re probably thinking of jaundice. It’s because yellowing of the skin and the eyes are a common indication that there’s something wrong with your liver.

There are also other eye problems linked with liver disease. Patients may also experience itchy and dry eyes. In addition, Xanthelasma, a small collection of fat on your eyelids, may happen when you’re suffering from liver cirrhosis. Likewise, congenital liver disorders may also affect any part of your eyes, including the lens and cornea.

  • Nutritional Deficiency

It’s critical to get the right amount of minerals and nutrients in your daily diet. For good eye health, doctors advise people to eat diets that include a range of vegetables and fruits.

If you don’t eat a healthy balanced diet, you may suffer from nutritional deficiency. It may result in distorted vision, cataracts, and blurred vision.

More so, your eye doctor may perform invasive surgery to remove cataracts on your eyes. If your cataracts are due to nutritional deficiencies, you must aim to include various vegetables and fruits in your diet. Taking multivitamin supplements may also be beneficial to your eye health. However, be sure to consult your doctor first before you take any multivitamin supplement, especially if you’re taking certain medications.

  • Shingles

These are painful viral infections that may result in rashes and blisters around the body. When shingles affect your face, mainly the eye area, this may lead to eye pain, swollen eyelids, and inflammation around the eyes.

If the rashes spread to your eyes, your doctor may provide you with additional shingles treatments. Depending on your condition, they may prescribe steroid medications in the form of pills or eye drops. Treating shingles in your eyes requires more careful treatment because it may result in more serious problems that can affect your daily life when neglected.

Tips To Maintain Good Eye Health

There are many ways to keep your eyes healthy. Whether or not you’re experiencing any of the above medical conditions, here are some of the tips to maintain good eye health:

  • Use Protective Eyewear

To keep your eyes protected, you can wear sunglasses or any protective eyewear. Goggles and safety glasses are made to protect your eyes during specific activities, like doing repairs, playing sports, or doing construction work. If you always spend more time outside, wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the sun.

  • Take Frequent Screen Breaks

Another way to maintain good eye health is to give your eyes a rest. Keep in mind that staring at your mobile device or computer for a long time may result in dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain. To prevent eye strain and other eye problems, try the following:

  • Keep your contact lenses or glasses prescription up to date
  • Use a supportive chair and keep the screen at eye level
  • Take a screen break for at least 20 minutes
  • Don’t forget to blink
  • Get A Dilated Eye Exam

There’s nothing to be scared of when undergoing a dilated eye exam. Plus, it’s the best thing you can do to ensure that your eyes are in good condition.

Even if your eyes seem fine and healthy, you might be suffering from an eye condition that you’re not aware of. It’s because some eye diseases don’t manifest any symptoms. Dilated eye exams are the only way to check eye illnesses early on when they’re much easier to treat.

Bottom Line

Those are just some of the many medical conditions that may affect your eye health. If you’re living with any of the above-mentioned conditions, consult your doctor immediately and never treat it on your own. If possible, ask your doctor the best possible steps you can take to lessen your risk and protect your eye health.

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