If the face were the index of the mind, then the human eye is probably the barometer of our health. Scientists have revealed that the state of our eyes provides data about our overall health condition and often mirrors the first symptoms of disease.

In addition to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, the eye could also indicate problems related to aneurysms, HIV, cancer and some rare hereditary diseases, says Andrew Iwach, associate clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California in San Francisco.

Here is what the eye can tell us about the health related problems that we may be carrying around:

  • Bloodshot eyes: The outer layer of the eye called conjunctiva has numerous blood vessels in it. If these burst, the blood may pool in on the white. A hemorrhage could result from a blow to the eye while in rare cases it could indicate high blood pressure or a platelet disorder.

  • Bulging eyes: In most cases, this could be a family trait but eyes can also bulge due to thyroid disease. High levels of the hormone could cause tissues surrounding the eye to swell and make it appear that the eye is bulging.

  • Droopy eyelids: A condition known as ptosis, this could be a sign of aging or could also indicate a brain tumor or neuromuscular disease known as myasthenia gravis.

  • Pupil abnormalities: The pupils are usually symmetrical. But if one is bigger than the other or one shrinks less, or more slowly, there could be a medical problem. It could be anything from a stroke, brain or optic nerve tumor, brain aneurysm, syphilis or multiple sclerosis.