2046 E. Sample Road, Lighthouse Point, FL 33064
Located in the Gateway Center - 2nd Floor

Systemic Diseases

In addition to serving as your windows to the world, your eyes provide valuable information on your systemic health. They can reveal telltale signs of illnesses and medical conditions originating elsewhere in the body. Ocular manifestations sometimes offer the first visible indications a specific systemic condition, disease, or inherited disorder is present. Moreover, the eyes are the only body part where blood vessels and nerve tissue are directly viewable without surgery.

Some systemic conditions affecting the eyes and vision include:


Diabetes is a complex metabolic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, long-time elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage throughout the body with many complications to one’s health and overall well-being.

The term “diabetic eye disease” refers to a group of conditions that potentially threaten the eyesight of people with diabetes. This group of disorders includes diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataracts, and glaucoma. The most common cause of vision loss among individuals with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.


With a unique opportunity to view blood vessels directly, the eye doctor may be the first to detect signs of hypertension early— when management with diet, exercise, and medication can avert consequences like a heart attack or stroke.

Hypertension or high blood pressure can reveal itself with damage to the blood vessels and sensitive tissues within the eyes. This damage may ultimately result in vision impairment and vision loss. Hypertension can also lead to a stroke affecting the optic nerve and areas in the brain related to visual processing.

A comprehensive eye exam brings to light the following damage associated with hypertension:

  • Hypertensive retinopathy- blood vessel damage that can result in blurred vision and vision loss
  • Choroidopathy-fluid buildup beneath the retina
  • Optic neuropathy- due to circulatory blockages that kill nerve cells

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

Thyroid eye disease, known as TED for short, is an autoimmune disorder causing inflammation of the eye muscles and the fatty tissues behind the eye.

Although factors such as gender, age, and smoking can contribute to the risk, TED is often associated with Graves’ Disease and hyperthyroidism. According to statistics, approximately one-third of patients with Graves’ disease demonstrate signs and symptoms of thyroid eye disease (TED), and 90% of individuals with TED have hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid eye disease causes the muscle and fat behind the eye to expand, resulting in a long list of ocular symptoms and complications, including:

  • Bulging eyes
  • Redness and pain
  • Puffy, swollen eyelids, eyelid retraction
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty moving the eyes
  • Dry eye, grittiness
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Corneal ulceration
  • Vision loss

Early diagnosis supports optimal treatment outcomes. Because the condition is initially progressive, early diagnosis and care offer the best hope for managing the disease, controlling the severity of the symptoms, and preventing worsening damage. Our office will recommend the best non-surgical and surgical options for treating this condition.

Autoimmune Diseases

With an autoimmune disease, your body, for reasons unknown, attacks normal, healthy tissue. Your eyes and vision are no exception. Conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lupus, MS, ankylosing spondylitis, sarcoidosis, Sjögren’s syndrome, giant cell arteritis, Graves’ disease, and Behcet’s disease, just to name a few, can all affect eye health and vision.

Autoimmune diseases can cause a range of ocular symptoms, including:

  • Dry or red eyes
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Itchiness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain
  • Visual changes
  • Vision loss

The goal of treatment is to manage and alleviate systemic effects and ocular symptoms. As with other eye conditions, early diagnosis and timely treatment offer the best prognosis.


Shingles Doctor in Fort Lauderdale

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful viral disease that most commonly affects the torso, neck, face, ears, and eyes. Although one may have had chicken pox and gotten over it as a child, the virus can remain in a non-active and dormant state until the body’s immune system gets compromised.

While the dormant virus often takes up residence in the dorsal root ganglion, it can likewise reside along the ophthalmic nerve. The virus can also reach the eyes from contact with another body part that has the virus. A shingles outbreak around the eyes is called Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus.

When shingles progresses to the eye, it can affect the cornea and uveal tissue. It can also reach the retina. Severe symptoms, including painful and debilitating ones associated with conjunctivitis, scleritis, keratitis, uveitis, retinal necrosis, optic neuritis, or ocular cranial-nerve palsies can ensue. Without prompt care by an ophthalmologist, the consequences can be severe. Medications may involve antivirals, steroids as indicated, and medications for pain control.