You might not think that a condition inside your body, such as bacteria, virus, or chronic diseases have anything to do with your eyesight, but the truth is that any disease that impacts your body could also be damaging your eyes. Here are four common health conditions that can significantly impact your vision and should be discussed with your eye doctor immediately.
Many people are aware that in the long-term, diabetes complications can lead to blindness, and while that is a scary thought, there are actually several other eye conditions that can be caused or worsened by diabetes, and many of them are only minor problems that, if you work with an eye doctor, will not have much of an impact on your daily life. These include:
- Nonproliferative and Proliferative Retinopathy
- Macular Edema
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (HBP), sometimes called hypertension, is a disease that can go unnoticed for a long period of time because there are very few outward symptoms. However, this condition could be causing significant damage to many areas of your body, including your eyesight. HBP strains the vessels in your eye, causing them to narrow or bleed after being subjected to high levels of pressure or force, and can also cause the optic nerve to swell. Both of these things reduce your ability to see well. Left untreated, HBP could lead to permanent vision problems, or in severe cases could lead to a stroke that causes severe damage to your vision. Managing blood pressure is essential to eye health and overall health.
Viral infections, such as pinkeye, herpes, shingles, and other issues can affect your vision. In some cases, the damage will be temporary and your vision will likely return to normal. But, severe infections can cause inflammation, blockage in the tear drainage system, or even penetration into the interior of the eye where it could cause long-term damage. If you have any infection in or around your eye, it’s critical to get it checked by an eye doctor immediately.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatologic disorders are often treated with steroids or hydroxychloroquine, which have side effects that can cause glaucoma or cataracts. This condition can also cause excessive dryness, inflammation in the whites of your eyes, cornea thinning, and pain in your ocular cavity. Talk to your eye doctor if you have RA to discuss options to minimize these impacts.
Good eyesight is an important part of having a high quality of life, and losing your eyesight can significantly impact your ability to perform daily tasks. Being aware of how other health conditions can impact eyesight is an essential step toward having healthier eyes today and in the future.