Your eye colour can reveal health risks

Your eye colour can reveal health risks

It’s all in your eye

“Your eyes are the windows to your soul”. Not too far from the truth, like the saying states, your set of eyes can be the window to your health.

So let’s take a look at what health risks you should be aware of depending on the colour of your iris:

Dark eyes: dark brown and hazel brown

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  • In recent years, studies have proved that dark-eyed people are at greater risk at developing cataracts. Best you wear your sunnies if you have dark eyes, and protect your eyes from UV light.
  • Research has shown that people with dark eyes are more likely to develop vitiligo, which is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks healthy pigments cells and causes blotchy skin.

Light-coloured eyes: blue, green and grey

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  • People with light-coloured eyes have twice the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is a progressive eye condition that attacks the macular of the eye and affects the sharpness of your vision, and then the loss thereof.
  • Research has shown that people with blue eyes, or lighter irises, tend to be sensitive to light more than darker-eyed individuals. Ruth Williams, MD and president-elect of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, points out that this is likely due to the sparsity of light-absorbing pigments in the eye. “The more pigment you have, the less light gets through the iris.”
  • Due to lighter eyes having fewer pigments to protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays, there has been a prevalence of light-eyed people having a greater lifetime risk of melanoma in the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye.

Prevention is always better than cure; here are a few things to keep an eye on:

  • A red sclera. If the white part of your eye is red in colour, this could suggest that your eye is suffering from dryness, allergies or a possible infection. While drops can ease the dryness and lubricate your eye, if you have an infection you should visit a doctor.
  • A yellow sclera. Yellowing is often linked to jaundice, or liver impairment. If your sclera is not clearing up, contact your doctor, because the yellowness is a clear sign your liver is unhappy.
  • A white corneal ring. Ever heard of someone saying they have cholesterol in their eye? Well, they are not too far from the truth. Cholesterol deposits in the cornea can create an appearance of a white, hazy ring.
  • Any abnormal changes in your eye can indicate that your health is not ok. The effects of diabetes, high-blood pressure and glaucoma can be felt in the eye, and can be seen in your eye. Regular check ups will prevent you from having to deal with the worse outcome.

Taking care of your eyes is not difficult. Be observant, and examine your eyes from time to time. Wear your specs to avoid straining your eyes, and wear your sunnies to protect them from UV rays.

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