Eyes are often called “windows to the soul,” but they can do more than just reveal your deepest thoughts. While many people often think of going to the eye doctor only when they need new glasses, the experts at Makati Medical Center, the leading hospital in the Philippines, say that there are certain serious diseases that can be diagnosed through the condition of your eyes. Take a closer look at whether you’ve got these 5 issues that signal a trip to the doctor ASAP.
You notice changes in your vision. Whether you’ve been a longtime wearer of glasses or are just starting to notice an increase in blurriness or flashes, if changes in your eyesight are bothering you then a visit to the doctor is in order, says Benjamin M. Abela, Jr., MD of MakatiMed’s Department of Ophthalmology.
“It’s possible that you’ll just need to have your lens prescription adjusted,” he says. “But if you start noticing a drastic increase in spots or floaters, this could be a sign of a detached retina. This can cause blindness, so see an ophthalmologist immediately. Ophthalmologists can do routine eye exams and prescribe corrective lenses, and do procedures like retinal detachment repair or cataract removals, if needed.”
Your head won’t stop pounding. It’s one thing to have the occasional headache if you’ve been working too long, but if the pain is severe and prolonged, your eye strain may be causing migraines. If your intense headache lasts over four hours and comes with flashing lights or blind spots, you might have been spending too much time staring at a screen. See your doctor for medication—and take a break from your gadgets.
Your eyes are itchy. Itchy eyes can be caused by a range of reasons, from allergies to infections. If your eyes are irritated by dust or pollen, your doctor may just prescribe you eye drops to relieve the discomfort. Eye infections, on the other hand, can be bacterial, viral, or fungal. Conditions like conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, are common and can be treated with proper eye medications. However, do not delay consult with your eye doctor for eye infections as some cases may cause permanent vision loss.
Your eyes are swollen. Allergies are a common scapegoat for swelling as well, but inflammation can be a sign of a more serious medical condition such as autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
“Other than severely dry eyes, the markers for autoimmune diseases can include swelling of the eyelids and along the surface of the eye,” says Dr. Abela. “Changes in the blood vessels in the retina can also mean that your body is attacking your healthy cells. Visit your doctor if the swelling in and around your eyes is persistent.”
Your family has a history of hereditary diseases. Factors like the color of your eyes’ arteries and vessels or spots along your retina and optic nerve head changes can reflect that your body has developed diseases like hypertension, glaucoma, and diabetes, all of which can have genetic components. “If you know that these conditions run in your family and that you’re at risk of developing these issues, regular visits to your eye doctor can help catch these diseases early on and prevent you from losing your eyesight in the long run,” Dr. Abela points out.
If you’ve been experiencing these issues, stop putting off going to the doctor and get to the bottom of the discomfort as soon as you can. Better yet, don’t wait for something to come up—schedule regular trips to your eye doctor and make it a habit.
MakatiMed’s Cataract & Refractive Laser Surgical Center (RJO Center) offers 10% discount on select LASIK procedures from September 9 to October 31, 2019. Visit an ophthalmologist to check if you are eligible for LASIK to correct your vision. Per DTI-FTEB Permit No. 16935 Series of 2019.