The saying goes that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but who knew they could actually be extremely telling about your health, too? Turns out, doctors can learn a lot about your physical well-being from just looking at your peepers.
That's right: Your eye color can indicate if you're at risk for certain health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and even brain tumors. We did a little digging, and here's what we discovered.
Light eyes could increase your risk of cancer.
If your eyes are blue, green, or gray, you may be at a higher risk for skin cancer than those with dark eyes, Dr. Ruth Williams tells Everyday Health (although those with dark eyes should apply sunscreen and get moles checked regularly by a dermatologist). As you age, you're also more likely to develop macular degeneration, which is one of the most common causes of vision loss. The good news? Those with light eyes are at a lower risk for cataracts and vitiligo, a discoloration of the skin caused by melanin cells malfunctioning in your body.
Dark eyes are more prone to cataracts.
If you have brown or hazel eyes, research suggests you are more likely than light-eyed folk to develop cataracts or vitiligo. However, you're less likely to develop skin cancer and macular degeneration.
Eyes that change color could be a sign of a serious health issue.
In this case, we're not talking about the color of your iris. Instead, the part of your eye that surrounds the light or dark coloring could indicate that you need to see a doctor. For instance, if your eye suddenly becomes red, it typically indicates irritation, infection, or allergies. Or if the whites of your eyes suddenly become yellow, you probably have jaundice, meaning there's a major issue with your liver that requires medical attention.
Although these findings may seem shocking, it's important to remember that your eye color isn't somehow causing these problems or that having a certain hue definitely means you're going to develop one. But of course, if you have any concerns about your eyes, you should see a doctor immediately.