September 19, 2019

6 Health Concerns That Your Eyes Could Be Warning You About

More reasons to get regular eye exams

Eye exams are important to keep eyes healthy

When your eyes get itchy and watery, you know it’s a sign that your allergies are kicking in. But did you know that your eyes can also give you clues about many other health conditions?


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

This is part of the reason why regular eye exams are an important piece of your healthcare routine.

Optometrist Kristi Stalker, OD, discusses some other health conditions that your eyes can give clues about.


Ever experience a pesky eye twitch that starts up the day before a huge presentation? It’s not just a coincidence. The most common culprits for an eye twitch are lack of sleep, too much stress or too much caffeine, Dr. Stalker says.

If it’s gets too bothersome, try using a cool pack on the eye to resolve the twitching. “If your whole eye is clinched shut, though, that’s a sign of a problem that needs evaluation by your doctor,” she adds.


What seems like intermittent blurry vision could be a sign that someone has a diabetes-related eye problem. “Their vision might be better in the morning and blurry after they’ve had a big meal,” Dr. Stalker explains. This is because high blood sugar levels can cause the lens of the eyes to swell, making vision blurry.


Long-term high blood sugar levels can lead to something more serious called diabetic retinopathy, which can cause vision loss. If you have diabetes, it’s especially important to have an eye exam each year.

High blood pressure

Hypertension can damage the blood vessels that deliver blood to the retina. You won’t notice a difference in your eyes or vision at first, but an eye doctor may be able detect it when they look at the vessels inside the eye.

Overexposure to the sun

A pink or yellow bump on the white of the eye can indicate damage to the conjunctiva from too much sunlight exposure. “They can expand and grow further in and eventually block your vision,” Dr. Stalker explains. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses that offer full UV protection and cover your eyes completely.

Retinal Detachment or Migraines

Seeing a few eye floaters usually isn’t a sign of anything serious, but if you notice lightning flashes or darkness in your field of vision, this is a sign of an ocular emergency that warrants immediate medical attention.

These instantaneous flashes are different than those that are a precursor of a migraine. “Sometimes people notice a 20-minute long flickering or sparkling light that expands in size and shrinks back down again,” Dr. Stalker explains. That can be the start of an ocular migraine, which may be followed by a headache.


Blood clotting problem

See a splotch of red on the white of your eye? Broken blood vessels in the eye usually result from straining (from heavy lifting or coughing or sneezing) and don’t cause permanent damage. “It looks very alarming, but usually there’s no treatment — it will resolve over the next two weeks,” Dr. Stalker says.

But if this happens multiple times, see your doctor, as it could indicate a bleeding problem.

Related Articles

Person with a red eye.
February 14, 2023
Seeing Red: 6 Possible Reasons for Red Eyes

How to tell the difference between harmless redness and issues that demand attention

Toddler caught mid blink while laughing.
December 12, 2022
Why Is My Toddler Blinking a Lot?

From allergies to anxiety, excessive blinking usually isn’t a concern

A person undergoing an eye exam
February 3, 2022
Is Posterior Vitreous Detachment a Serious Eye Problem?

What to do if you suddenly see lots of new ‘floaters’

woman swabbing eye
December 12, 2021
What To Know About Mucus Fishing Syndrome

Mucus fishing is the latest trend on TikTok and Instagram. But here’s why you shouldn’t do it

eye health eat healthy vitamins
April 8, 2021
Should You Take Vitamins for Eye Health?

The answer depends on your condition

boy swimming in pool with goggles
April 6, 2021
How Does Chlorine Affect Your Eyes?

Plus how pools, lakes and sprinklers affect your eyes

closeup of an eye
December 14, 2020
15 Fascinating Facts About Your Eyes

Focus on these surprising stats

child in process of virtual learning session
December 2, 2020
How to Avoid Eye Strain During Virtual Learning

Find out exactly why too much screen time can lead to eye problems

Trending Topics

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try

Exercise and diet over three months is hard to accomplish.
Everything You Need To Know About the 75 Hard Challenge

Following five critical rules daily for 75 days may not be sustainable

Person in foreground standing in front of many presents with person in background holding gift bags.
What Is Love Bombing?

This form of psychological and emotional abuse is often disguised as excessive flattery