The eyes are often referred to as the "window to the soul", but did you know they can also be the window to our health? Our eyes are not only a vital part of our visual system, but also provide important indicators about our general well-being. Surprisingly, an eye examination can reveal a multitude of health conditions.
Looking into a person’s eyes is most often non-invasive and painless, which makes it a very patient-friendly way to assess a patient’s health. Unlike other medical procedures which often involve needles or probes, eye exams are generally non-intrusive, making them a much more practical and convenient option for patients.
Furthermore, the eyes are one of the few organs in the body where blood vessels (arteries or veins) can be directly observed. Changes in the appearance or structure of the blood vessels in the eyes can indicate changes in the broader network of blood vessels throughout the body, which in turn can provide valuable insights regarding the presence of local and systemic conditions. In addition to the blood vessels, the eye is the only place in the body where a nerve can be seen without painful, invasive procedure: the optic nerve can provide valuable information about the health of the eye and beyond.
Overall, our eyes have the extraordinary capacity to provide valuable clues about our overall well-being. Let's take a closer look at some of the conditions that can be detected through an eye exam:
High blood pressure: High blood pressure can cause changes in the blood vessels in the eyes, which can then be observed during an eye exam: they may appear narrower or thicker than usual, or they may show signs of bleeding or leaking. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
Thyroid disorders: Thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism, can manifest as physical changes in or around the eyes or changes in vision, such as bulging eyes and double vision. An eye examination can detect these changes early and aid in treatment, which highlights the importance of visual examinations in comprehensive health care.
Neurological conditions: The eyes, being an extension of the brain, can reveal important insights into neurological conditions. For example, double vision or eye movement abnormalities can serve as an indicator of an underlying neurological condition, rather than being solely attributed to an optical issue. It is important to have a visual examination as part of a comprehensive health care plan in order to detect these changes early and enable treatment as necessary.
Cancer: Eye exams can identify various types of cancer. For instance, melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can occur in the eye. An eye exam can detect any unusual growths or abnormalities in these areas, allowing for early diagnosis and treatment.
By harnessing the power of retinal images, we can not only gain insights into ocular health, but also unravel vital information about our general well-being, including the early detection of systemic diseases and neurological conditions.
As a result of advances in AI technology, retinal images can now be analyzed and diagnosed with great insight and accuracy. AI can diagnose a broad range of retinal diseases and also systemic diseases. Retinal diseases include diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, AMD, and more. Systemic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, and even dementia. In the case of diabetic retinopathy, AI companies like AEYE Health received FDA clearance to diagnose the disease using its AI technology. More FDA clearances are likely on their way.
As we continue to discover the secrets held within our eyes, it becomes increasingly evident that they serve a greater purpose than simply serving as windows to the soul.