There’s a common saying, “the eyes are the window to the soul!” Even though this phrase is only a saying, there is some truth to it! When looking at the eyes from a medical perspective, they can act as a window to overall body health. Problems and conditions that affect different parts of the body can manifest as vision and ocular health problems. Often these problems are only detected by an eye health examination. Cardiovascular disease is one such condition that sometimes manifests with ocular symptoms. Identifying heart health problems through an eye exam can be lifesaving. Learn more about the relationship between heart health and the eyes in our blog article this week!
Your Eyes, A Window To Overall Health!
Problems with vision are very common. But having a vision problem can sometimes mean that there are problems within the body, that goes beyond the eyes! A comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist is more than just a vision check. When getting a complete eye exam by an optometrist (eye doctor) the health of the eyes is evaluated along with vision. An examination of the health of the eyes can alert the doctor to potential health problems that can be present in other parts of the body.
Whats the Connection Between Heart Health and Eye Health?
Blood vessels within the body help feed our organs and tissues with oxygen. The eyes are no different! The back of the eyes are full of tiny little blood vessels. Looking at those little blood vessels can give your doctor an idea of what the rest of your vascular system may look like. It is very common for vascular problems that are occurring in other parts of the body to also present itself within the eye.
Heart Issues Within The Eyes
The same problems that cause heart health problems can also cause damage to eye health. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are all diseases that increase your chances of developing heart disease. Along with causing potential heart problems, they can also cause ocular problems. Some eye problems that can result from these diseases are age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion (blocked blood vessels within the retina), and glaucoma. If left untreated, these eye problems are sight-threatening and in extreme cases can lead to blindness.
Retinal Vein Occlusion
A retinal vein occlusion is a serious eye problem! It’s caused when one of the tiny veins within the retina becomes blocked. This ocular event is also referred to as an “eye stroke”. The blockage of the vein causes problems with the way the retina functions which in return causes problems with vision. Blurred vision or loss of vision are both symptoms of retinal vein occlusion. Symptoms of a retinal vein occlusion event usually present themselves suddenly. It is important not to ignore these symptoms. A retinal vein occlusion not treated urgently can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. It can also indicate other serious health problems within the body. Retinal vein occlusion can indicate heart health problems and may also precede an impending stroke.
If you have a sudden onset of blurred vision or vision loss, it is important not to wait to see if the problem goes away on its own. Seek immediate medical attention from a doctor. Doing so could save not only your vision but possibly your life!
Ways To Keep Both Your Eyes And Heart Healthy
What’s good for your heart is also good for your eyes! Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to promote a healthy body. Key ingredients in a healthy lifestyle are;
- keeping within & maintaining a healthy body weight
- eating a healthy diet
- limit your consumption of foods high in saturated fats
- have regular physical exams
- have regular eye exams
If you need to book a routine exam, contact our office at (403) 255-2826 or through our online appointment request form! Should you require an emergency appointment please call our office directly. If it is after business hours, seek immediate medical attention from a hospital or by dialing 911.
Article was written by Trina Vanaalst, Registered Optician and Contact Lens Practitioner