They say eyes are the window to your soul, but did you know your eyes may be able to reveal important details about your health too?
They're one of the most vital parts of our body, but also one of the most sensitive. If we're having problems with our eyes, or even if they're healthy, they're usually a good indicator as to what's going on with your health.
From watering eyes, to even the colour of your eyes - every eye problem tells a different story. So what are your eyes trying to tell you? Read on to find out...
Blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes, in between eyes. Everyone has different eye colours, with some made up of a combination of all of the potential colours.
But it turns out that the colour of our eyes could be a crucial indicator of any potential future health problems. In fact, they could even go as far as predicting whether or not you'll get cancer.
But how? According to Ruth Williams, an ophthalmologist speaking to Everyday Health, those with lighter coloured eyes are way more sensitive to light than those with darker eyes. "Clinically speaking, people with blue or light-coloured irises do tend to be more light-sensitive,", she said.
But what does this mean? Ruth explains, "This is likely due to the sparsity of light-absorbing pigment in the eye", and having this means that you could be at an increased risk of cancer. Lighter eyes also have less pigment in them to protect from UV rays.
Protect against the potential damage by regularly popping on a pair of sunglasses - even during a UK summer.
So what about darker eyes? Well, according to a study by the University of Louisiana, people with darker eyes have a slightly quicker reaction time, meaning they're probably more adept at sports too. However, the research was inconclusive - so don't pay too much heed to this. Blue-eyed beauties can still be good at physical activity!
Generally, eye colour is a difficult and unreliable way to gauge your general health. But there are other ways to tell if your health is being affected by your eyes...
Bloodshot eyesRed, veiny and sensitive eyes can be a sign that your eyes are battling against something, and it could be anything from just general fatigue, over-wearing contact lenses, or something slightly more serious such as conjunctivitis.
However, a bloodshot eye could also be a sign of something more sinister. A red and inflamed eye might be a sign of acute glaucoma, which is a serious condition where there is a sudden increase in pressure in your eye. Other symptoms will usually accompany this condition though, such as sickness, blurred or clouded vision, or seeing halos around lights. If you have any of these symptoms, its vital you get to an ophthalmologist immediately, as a loss of vision could occur if it isn't treated quickly and effectively.
Finally, bloodshot eyes could also signal a corneal ulcer (literally, an ulcer in your cornea), where it feels like there's something in your eye. Mostly, contact lenses wearers suffer from this type of infection, so make sure to regularly change contacts, and wash your hands before putting them in to reduce your risk.
If you find yourself rubbing and poking at some irritatingly scratchy eyes, don't panic, because there's usually nothing sinister at all going on. The most common cause by far of itchy eyes is allergies - so if it's getting in to summer and you know you suffer from hayfever, that is most likely to be the cause.
However, if your eyes are newly itchy, you might have developed a new allergy - either hayfever, to dust, pollen, animals, or something else. You might also be allergic to any products you're using on your face, such as cream, mascara or foundation. Itchy eyes could also well by a symptoms of other things too. Dry eye syndrome could be a possible suspect, for which you'd (ironically) need drops, or Meibomian gland dysfunction.
Interestingly, itchy eyelids could mean something entirely different about your health than itchy eyes. Blepharatis is a condition where the edges of the eyelids become sore and swollen, and can also involve crusty or greasy eyelashes, a gritty sensation in your eyes, and an increased sensitivity to light (photophobia).
It's a common enough condition, caused by inflammation, but it can be pretty persistent. So make sure to undertake a daily eye-care routine. Every day, gently clean your eyelids to wipe away excess oil, massage them to push oils out of the glands, and use a warm compress to make the oils produced more runny - and therefore easier to get rid of.
Too many tears in your eyes (aside from crying!) could be a sign of an allergy or confusingly, dry eye syndrome. This is because the eye creates excess tears and moisture to combat the dryness and irriation caused by the condition.
If this is the case for you, picking up a pack of eye drops could make the world of difference, to help lubricate the eyeball and hopefully, reduce your watery eyes.