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Find Out What Your Eyes Say About You

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us regard eye exams as necessary matters if we wear glasses or have new issues turn up related to vision, but there are other important things to learn from eye exams. They may be windows to our soul, but also our heart -- literally. summed it up recently, saying "Your eyes can shed much light on the state of your overall health." Years ago, an eye doctor told my mother she should have her doctor check her for possible heart issues. She checked with her doctor, but he did not see it. Shortly thereafter she had a heart attack. The good news is she recovered, got a different doctor, and went through a complete heart rehab enjoying a long and happy retirement.

Looking at Your Overall Health

Here are seven diseases that may be spotted in an eye exam.

High blood pressure - If an exam reveals blood vessels that are crossed or compressed it can be a sign of high blood pressure.

Stroke signs - If a microscopic clot in the retina's blood vessels are spotted, it could point to a more dangerous clot somewhere else that could cause a stroke.

Diabetes - An exam can evaluate the health of blood vessels in the back of the eyes. According to the doctors, dilating the eyes is the only way to detect diabetic retinopathy.

Cancer - Some types of cancer, such as ocular melanoma, can be detected in a dilated examination of the eye with magnification and bright light.

Thyroid malfunction - Eye exams may show bulging eyes that come from inflammation of cells and point to thyroid issues.

Dangerous cholesterol readings - When the doctor dilates the eyes and sees a piece of cholesterol or plaque in the arteries of the retina, this can be an indicator that plaque may be present in other areas, which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.

Arthritis - The very same inflammation that creates pain in your joints can impact the eyes. Both the joints and the sclera (or white of the eye) and cornea (or lens cap) share the link to collagen. The sooner you deal with the inflammation the better the results.

I always talk with my eye doctor during an exam to ask if he sees any other health issues in my eyes. Retina surgeon Sunir J. Garg, MD, at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia sums it up perfectly. He said, "The eye is like a microcosm of the entire body within a small ball."

We should all keep our eyes on that small ball to protect our health.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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