Symptoms in the eyes can signal serious health problems – what to spot

Luke's story explains why eye tests are vital for healthy living

The eyes can reveal major diseases developing in the body, but you may need a trained specialist to uncover the signs of them. Take Sujata Paul, for example, a contact lens optician and professional services clinical lead at Lenstore. A look at the eyes might hint towards high cholesterol, diabetes, or burnout.

Sujata said: “High blood sugar level spikes can damage the blood vessels in the retina.

“The damaged blood vessels become swollen, bleed or may leak fluid.”

Consequently, blurred vision – an inability to see with a clear focus and to detect details in objects – could be a sign of type 2 diabetes.

Blurred vision can occur in “one or both eyes”, which can improve when blood sugar levels are under control.

Blurry vision could also be the result of a cataract, which is the “breakdown of protein found inside the lens that mass together forming cloudy patches”.

Sujata explained: “As the lens is responsible for the amount of light that enters the eye, the cataract can reduce the light from entering, which can lead to hazy and blurry vision.”

With the help of an eye specialist, you can determine what is the cause of blurred vision – and seek the best treatment.

An ophthalmologist will also be on the lookout for “a white ring forming around your iris”.

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Sujata said: “This could be a sign that your cholesterol is potentially high.”

The expert explained eyes can reveal “an early indicator” of high cholesterol as “lipids will begin to form and create a ring around the outside of your cornea”.

Sujata added: “Those under 40 should keep an extra look out for these, as it can be a sign of extreme levels of cholesterol which would require an appointment with both your optician and GP.”

If you experience eye twitches, there can be numerous reasons as to why they occur.

Sujata pointed out that it could be a sign of “overindulging in alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine”.

Sujata added: “It can also be an early warning sign of burnout. Physical exertion, fatigue and stress are key triggers.

“If an eye twitch persists, it could be your body’s way of telling you to take some time off and manage your workload.”

Then there is the experience of “tiny specks and worm-like shapes” that can appear across your vision.

While, in most cases, they are not harmful, there are times when they could allude to “a more serious problem”.

Sujata elaborated: “If they’re accompanied by flashes of light, or there is a sudden onset of unusually large number of floaters within a short space of time, this is a symptom of a more serious problem.

“If the more frequent occurrence of floaters is accompanied by temporary vision loss or perceived flashing lights, then it could be indicative of retinal detachment.

“This condition is a medical emergency and may quickly lead to loss of vision or permanent vision impairment if left untreated.”

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