Your overall medical health affects not only your body, but it can also impact your eye health. If you have certain medical conditions, whether temporary or long-lasting, you should inform your eye doctor right away.
The following are medical conditions that can affect your eye health. If you have any of these medical conditions, or you are concerned about your eyes at any time, make an appointment with your eye doctor to have a thorough vision and eye exam.
Herpes Simplex 1
Herpes of the eye (herpes simplex 1) can affect your eye health. This type of herpes is the same virus that causes cold sores. You can get a herpes infection of the eye if you touch a cold sore on your face and then rub your eyes. Herpes of the eye is not contagious to other people, but it can affect your vision and cause scarring in your retina.
If you are suffering an outbreak of herpes in your eye, call your eye doctor for an examination. You may be able to get medication to help speed the recovery process of your outbreak.
Pinkeye is caused by a virus, most commonly the common cold (where the virus gets into the eyes via touching the face), and can cause eye discomfort, swelling, and irritation. While pinkeye will generally clear on its own and is not always a serious medical concern, see your eye doctor if you experience burning eye pain or very blurry vision or if prescriptions given to you don't appear to be working.
Diabetes is a serious medical condition, one that you will likely live with for the rest of your life. Diabetes can also affect your eyesight, so you must manage your diabetes to keep your eyes, and the rest of your body, healthy.
Diabetes-related eye disease is very serious and can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and other vision loss problems. Your eye doctor will give you a dilated eye exam to help monitor your diabetic condition. Always consult with your traditional doctor, as well as your optometrist, for concerns about treating your diabetes.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a medical condition that your optometrist can often identify simply by looking at your eyes. Your eye's blood vessels may appear enlarged or even broken due to blood pressure issues, leaving noticeable blood spots on the whites of your eyes.
High blood pressure can also cause damage to your optic nerves, affecting your overall vision. You can help manage your high blood pressure by exercising, managing your weight, and using medication as prescribed by your general doctor.
A common side effect of rheumatoid arthritis is dry eye, which can make your eyes uncomfortable. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, even if the condition doesn't appear to affect your eye health, let your optometrist know. Your eye doctor will check your tear ducts to see if you are making enough tears, and if you are not, they may prescribe eye drops to help your eyes produce more natural tears.
Severe dry eye can damage your cornea and other parts of your eye, so if you find yourself using over-thecounter eye drops on a regular basis, even if you don't have a medical problem, let your eye doctor know.
Many medical conditions can be dangerous to your eyes. Going to your eye doctor for regular exams and being open about any medical concerns you have can help your optometrist treat your eyes most effectively.
Make an appointment with your eye doctor once a year to preserve your eye health. Our team of eye specialists at Sugarloaf EyeCare can treat many of your vision health needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment.