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The Eye -Facts You May Not Know

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession, and I enjoy writing about medical issues. I'm also interested in history, genealogy, and travel.

Anatomy of the Human Eye

The eye is an amazing part of the body and in addition to vision; there are many things an ophthalmologist and retinal specialist can detect through a simple examination. Even if you have 20-20 vision a check-up for eyes is a smart move. Quite often an eye doctor might be the first to detect a serious health problem that is unrelated to vision.

Eyes are about 1” in diameter and there are actually pads of fat along with bone that protect your eyes. The eye works very much like a camera. Basically there are three layers: the sclera, the choroid layer and the retina.

A simplified definition of how the eye works is: light enters the cornea, the pupil and lens before it is projected onto the retina. Electrical impulses are transformed by the retina via ganglion neurons, which is the optic nerve that transmits signals to the brain.

Parts of the Eye


Diseases Detected in an Eye Exam

There are arteries and veins in the eye which are examined during a routine eye exam which might reveal diabetes or high blood pressure. Approximately 65% of the time an eye doctor can detect high cholesterol before your family doctor confirms this with a blood test. This condition will show up as yellowish plaque in the retinal blood vessels.

At least 20% of the people with high blood pressure don’t know they have this disease as there are no symptoms. The arterial blood vessels in the eye of people with hypertension have a silver or copper hue. Left untreated, hypertension caused the blood vessels throughout the body to harden, which will increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol, tumors, cancer and thyroid disease may also be noted during an eye exam.

As for diabetes, the elevated blood sugar will damage the blood vessels over time and can eventually lead to blindness. The eye doctor can detect seepage or new, abnormal blood vessels which grow to replace the affected ones. This is a big indicator of abnormally high blood sugar.

Eye - Healthy


Effect of Allergies on Your Eyes

Allergies can certainly affect the eyes as many of us are aware. Allergies can lead to swollen ocular surface blood vessels with symptoms include red watery eyes, swelling and itchy eyes. Your eyes are actually secreting anti-inflammatory histamines and other natural chemicals. Anti-histamines and eye drops are used as treatment, but if your reaction is severe seeing an eye doctor is the best choice.

Allergy Effect on Eyes


Eyes are the Window to the Soul

While it is commonly believed that this verse is in the Bible, the only one I found was in Mark 7-20-23 and it said "The eyes are likened to the windows of the heart", which I think is true. We can learn a lot about another person by looking into their eyes and the way they respond to various situations.

Eyes Are the Window to the Soul

Eyes are the windows to the soul
Throughout my life I’ve been told
To see into anothers heart
Eyes are the place to start

Be they hazel, green or blue
Black, brown color changing too
Matters not what color they be
They show what one needs to see

Through these windows the truth lies
Emotionally nothing hides
Clear for all too recognize
Displayed to the world in ones eyes

Evident are anger, lust and surprise
Fear, truth, lust, hope and despise
Happiness, sorrow, and confusion
Inside familiar eyes there is no illusion

To gaze deeply is an intense moment
For the eyes are an intimate component
Although prominent noticed by all
Often the feature hardest to recall

Written by Vern Eaker

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases can also attack the health cells and tissues of the eye through inflammation. The doctor looks for inflammation inside the swollen ocular surface blood of the eye.

If an autoimmune disease is present they will find 30-50% of the vessels to be inflamed and they are red, watery and itchy. These finding would indicate the patient should see a rheumatologist to test for autoimmune diseases. One autoimmune disease, called Sjogrens Disease, causes dry eyes, which can be treated with Restasis, eye drops and ointments before bed.

Stress Causing Eye Disease?

Excessive mental or emotional stress can cause a condition called Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR), which causes blisters inside the eyeball. The body is taxed to the degree that the retina starts to leak fluid which forms blisters.

This was typically found in men with “Type A personalities”, but is being diagnosed in women more frequently now. The symptoms are blurred vision, or seeing wavy lines when attempting to focus. Decreasing the individual’s stress level is the best cure, but some are being treated vie eye surgery with lasers

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Green Eye


Cancer in the Eyeball

It is possible to get cancer in your eyeball. Sometimes a small growth called a nevus will be found by the ophthalmologist. This is a common benign growth, quite like a mole on your skin. While they usually remain harmless they are watched closely because they can develop into an ocular melanoma (cancer of the eye).

Vitamins for the Eyes

There are some vitamins that are especially good for your eyes. Lutein is helpful to prevent macular degeneration, which is a common condition of the elderly. Omega-3 provides essential fatty acids which help keep you eyes and heart healthy. Flaxseed oil and fish oil is good for dry eyes.

Vitamin A and Beta Carotene are excellent also and deficiency of these vitamins can cause blindness. Also, Vitamin C, Bioflavonoid, Vitamin E and zinc may reduce the risk of cataracts also.

In Conclusion

There are numerous eye conditions which are not covered in this hub. What is amazing is how many other diseases can be detected during a routine eye examination. If you have burning eyes, swollen eyes, yellow in the whites of your eyes, see floaters, have symptoms of an eye infection or any discomfort in your eyes, and please see your physician or eye doctor.

Eye Problems and Eye Exams

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 11, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

I think you are exactly right. I appreciate your comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2020:

An annual eye exam is something that everyone should do for all of the reasons you listed. Many things, if caught early, can be corrected before damage happens that may be irreversible.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 06, 2012:

RTalloni, Thanks so much for your comments.

RTalloni on April 05, 2012:

Interesting read--glad to see the encouragement to get regular check-ups!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 05, 2012:

wilderness, I had the same surgery and now I don't need glasses. Thank you so much for your comments.

Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on April 04, 2012:

Your hub is informative and useful to me - thanks. I just returned from an eye exam where I set up an appointment for cataract surgery to implant a new lens.

Any information on eye health is thus quite interesting to me and I had no idea so many diseases and problems could be found from an eye exam.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 04, 2012:

prasetio, Thank you so much for your comments. Take care.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 04, 2012:

This was very informative hub about the facts of eyes. I should care more with my eyes and I learn much from you, Pamela. I had never know about the cancer in the eyeball. You come up with solution by enclose the vitamin for the eyes. Thanks for share with us. Rated up (useful, awesome, interesting). Take care and enjoy your day!


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 03, 2012:

Rolly, I guess we can't emphasize the need for eye testing enough. I am glad that caught the right eye in time. Thank your for your comments. Hugs.

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on April 03, 2012:

Hi Pam... vision is so very important and thank you for writing this and sharing with people.

Back in 2000 I discovered I had Glaucoma far too late and had lost about 40% of mt vision in my left eye but caught it in time on the right. Life changed quickly and it is something I will never recover. For those who have Glaucoma in the family please get tested on a regular basis as the result in damage is regrettable.

Hugs from Canada

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 02, 2012:

SubRon, Yes, we sure do. Thanks for your comments.

James W. Nelson from eastern North Dakota on April 02, 2012:

Good hub, Pamela. Sometimes we forget just how important our eyes are.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 30, 2012:

quildon, I would like to read a hub about eye exercises. Thanks for your comments.

quildon on March 30, 2012:

I've also found eye exercises to be helpful. I think I'll do a hub on it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 29, 2012:

drbj, I don't know if we'll ever know for sure who said that quote first, but I believe it is significant also. Thank you for your comments.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on March 29, 2012:

Very important information, Pamela. Thank you for your research and sharing it. Regarding the quotation: 'The eyes are the windows to the soul,' I have heard it attributed to the Bible, to Cicero, an early Roman philosopher, and to Freud. Whoever said it first, it is significant. Even more significant is what a physician can learn, as you pointed out, about a person's health by studying a person's eyes.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 29, 2012:

anginwu, I didn't know that your husband was an eye doctor, so you probably already knew much of this information. I sure appreciate your comments.

quildon, I think eyestrain when you use a computer for hours is very common. Using eye drops might help relieve your symptoms as they help me. Thank you for your comments.

teaches, I found that interesting also. Thank you for your comments.

Dianna Mendez on March 28, 2012:

I think it is fascinating that doctors can detect high cholesterol levels just by examing the eyes. I love your blue capsule on "the eyes are the window to the soul". Thanks for sharing such important and useful information.

Angela Joseph from Florida on March 28, 2012:

Great hub, Pamela. I especially like the part about Vitamins. I'm going to use my flaxseed more often now. I suffer from eyestrain a lot, I guess because of the amount of time I spend on the computer, but my doctor always says my eyes are healthy. Thank God!

anglnwu on March 28, 2012:

Very informative hub. My husband is an eye doctor and he tells me he can tell what kinds of diseases a person has from looking inside the eye. The eye is quite an amazing creation--the window into the soul is also a window into the health of the body. Voted up.

anglnwu on March 28, 2012:

My husband is an eye doctor and he often tells me that he can detect diseases just by looking at the eyes. I think it's amazing how eyes are not just windows to the soul but how it can tell so much more about the body. Thanks for the informative hub and rated up.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 28, 2012:

BPOP, I think its great you can see Russia from NJ! Thanks for your comments.

PegCole, I'm glad this was a good reminder for you. I appreciate your comments.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on March 28, 2012:

Very informative Pamela. I'm overdue for an eye exam and this hub is a good reminder to get it done. Thanks.

breakfastpop on March 28, 2012:

Terrific and informative hub. I had cataracts and had Restora lenes put in during surgery. i no longer need glasses and I can see Russia!!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 28, 2012:

Susie, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments. We can blame a lot on the economy these days.

Gypsy Willow, I hope this was a good reminder. Thanks for your comments.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on March 28, 2012:

Excellent advice. With age I realise i should get a check up!

SusieQ42 on March 28, 2012:

Interesting hub, Pamela! Looks like I'm not the only one who hasn't had an eye exam in the last couple of years. Oh well, we'll blame it on the economy. Thanks for sharing, voted up and interesting.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 28, 2012:

Sofs, Thank you for your comments.

Sophie on March 27, 2012:

Informative hub. Great information. Have a great day!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 27, 2012:

Linda, I am glad the hub was informative for you. I appreciate your comments.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on March 27, 2012:

Hi Pam! This is an excellent hub about eyes! I thought I knew it all when it comes to eyesight due to my numerous visits to the eye doc with different family members. Voted UP and very informative. Thanks!

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