Sometimes we remember people because of their eyes; Bette Davis is one of those people.

Kim Carnes even sang about her famous eyes. (I bet you can hear that song in your head at the moment.) But what’s the deal with these eyes?

Those ‘Bette Davis eyes’ could have been indicative of a medical condition known as Graves’ disease, which is a serious thyroid and immunological disorder. This disorder causes an inflammatory response in the muscles around the eyes which makes them swell. Although the eyes are held in place by the orbits (the sockets in the skull), the swelling of the muscles and surrounding tissues push the eyes forward. In severe cases of Graves’s disease, the eyes are protruding and have limited movement.

The Eyes Tell a Story

Bette Davis’s eyes told a story. Whether it was about her possibly having Graves’ disease or whether her eyes highlighted her sassiness, success, or sexiness, there is a story to be told if we listen. Certain eye-related medical conditions can be diagnosed (often in an early stage) with regular vision exams.

Some health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure can cause vision problems. This is because the capillaries and blood vessels of the eyes are affected. Both of these medical conditions can be treated and many patients report an improvement in their vision afterward.

Famous People are Just like Us

Okay, maybe our photos aren’t on the covers of magazines or we are not incredibly rich, but when it comes to eye health, we are all on the same page. Regular vision exams are important for everyone because they can detect problems and offer solutions.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t look you directly in the eye? He was believed to have a condition known as ‘lazy eye.’ In his case, he had a displaced eye muscle, possibly because he was kicked in the head by a horse as a child.

‘Lazy eye’ is still a medical condition today and generally it’s diagnosed in children under 7. It’s caused when one eye doesn’t develop as it should, shifting the focus of vision to the other eye while the ‘lazy eye’ is almost ignored. The good news is that there are ways to successfully treat this.

Ray Charles, known for his exceptional musical talent, was born was congenital glaucoma. Sadly, this was not diagnosed and resulted in blindness by the time he was seven years old.

Today, there are glaucoma tests that are done quickly and painlessly. People over the age of 40 should be checked for this medical condition at least every one to two years. Glaucoma develops because of increased fluid pressure in the eyes. Often, there are no early symptoms of this disease. If left untreated, blindness could result.

Look on the Bright Side

Our eyes not only allow us to see and interact with the world around us; they can also reveal medical conditions that need to be addressed. Through regularly scheduled vision exams, you can get an early diagnosis on certain problems and start to receive treatment.

Even if you don’t have famous eyes like Bette Davis, make sure they are seen at vision exams. If you need corrective glasses, have your eye doctor ‘autograph’ a prescription for you. And if you plan on becoming famous, be sure to get a pair of prescription sunglasses in case you need to hide out from your fans for a while.

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