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While your eye examination can reveal the presence of cataracts, nearsightedness, glaucoma, or conjunctivitis, it can also tell your eye doctor a thing or two about your overall health. If your eye exam uncovers systemic illness, your eye doctor will refer you back to your primary health physician for further evaluation and treatment. Here are three medical conditions that can show up in your eyes and what you can do about them:
If you are low on iron stores or if your hemoglobin level is low, your eye exam may be abnormal. When you gently pull down on your lower eyelid, you should see pink tissue inside, however, if this tissue is very pale, you might have anemia.
While anemia doesn't usually affect your vision, it can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, and dizziness. If you have anemia, eat iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, lean meats, and legumes. If dietary interventions fail to resolve anemia, your doctor may recommend that you take an iron supplement. After your iron and hemoglobin levels return to normal, the color of your eye tissue will "pink up" again.
Certain autoimmune disorders can cause salivary and tear gland dysfunction. When this happens, your salivary and tear glands fail to produce enough saliva and tears to keep your mouth and eyes lubricated. If you have an autoimmune disorder, your eyes may be especially dry, gritty, and irritated.
Your eye doctor can perform a tear test which can evaluate the quantity and quality of your tears. Tears are not solely made up of water, but a rich composition of nutrients, lipids, and electrolytes. If you have dry eyes, your eye doctor can recommend lubricating drops to help keep you comfortable and to help prevent dryness-related corneal abrasions.
Certain liver problems can lead to an excessive buildup of a pigmented substance known as bilirubin. When bilirubin levels rise to abnormal levels, your skin and whites of your eyes can become yellow, which is known as jaundice. In addition to this, high levels of bilirubin can cause itchy skin, tea-colored urine, and fatigue.
If your eye doctor notices jaundice during your eye exam, you will need to see your physician for a bilirubin test as well as liver enzyme tests. When the underlying condition that caused your jaundice has been treated, your skin color and whites of your eyes will return to their normal color.
If your eye examination reveals any of the above abnormalities, see a physician like http://allabouteyes.com as soon as possible. The sooner these abnormalities are recognized and treated, the less likely you are to experience disease progression or complications from severe anemia, autoimmune disease, or liver disorders.