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What Can Your Eyes Tell Us About Your Heart?

Your eyes can reveal more about your health than you might think, including signs of potential heart problems. Studies have shown that certain changes in the eyes, such as changes in the blood vessels, may be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

One common eye condition associated with heart problems is retinopathy. This is a disease of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, that can occur when the blood vessels in the retina are damaged. Retinopathy is often associated with diabetes, but it can also be a sign of high blood pressure and other heart-related conditions.

Another eye condition that may be linked to heart problems is atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. This condition can lead to narrowed or blocked blood vessels, including those in the eyes. In some cases, atherosclerosis can cause a condition called central retinal artery occlusion, which occurs when the artery that supplies blood to the retina becomes blocked.

Other eye changes that may be associated with heart problems include changes in the color or appearance of the optic nerve, as well as changes in the size and shape of the blood vessels in the eyes. These changes can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam, which is why regular eye exams are important for maintaining overall health.

If your eye doctor detects any changes that may be related to heart problems, they may recommend that you see a cardiologist for further evaluation. Your cardiologist may perform additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram or stress test, to determine if there is any underlying heart disease that needs to be addressed.

It's important to remember that not all eye changes are related to heart problems, and not all heart problems manifest in the eyes. However, by keeping up with regular eye exams and monitoring any changes in your vision, you can take steps to protect your eye health and potentially identify underlying health issues, including those related to your heart.

David Greening David Greening, ABOC, BS(HONS) Ophth. Dispensing David is a licensed optician, and has been in optics since 2002. He attained his Bachelor of Science degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing in Kent, England (2014). He has extensive experience, having managed his own practice for many years prior to arriving at Astorino & Associates Eye Center. He is a licensed American optician (ABOC) and is well-recognized for his quality of service, attention to detail, and patient care. He left our practice January 2024.

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