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Can you tell if someone loves you by their eyes?

He walked into my consulting room with poise and confidence and greeted me familiarly as if he had known me for ages. The young man had accompanied Sister Laurens to my office. I responded less enthusiastically to his greetings. “You may sit in the reception while I speak to Sister Laurens,” I told him.

“Who is that young man?” I asked once he was out of earshot. “He is Joseph, a horticulturist who is helping to restore our garden,” she replied.  “He is a swindler,” I said confidently and warned her to be careful in her dealings with him.”

Instinctively I said, questioningly, “I hope you haven’t given him any money yet?”  She said she had made an advance payment of half the agreed sum. “Who introduced him to you?” I probed further. She replied that Engineer Yemi whom I had introduced to help with their borehole had recommended him.

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“You won’t see him after today and you may have to collect your money from Yemi,” I said with certainty. From Sister Laurens’ face, I knew she was thinking that I must have been out of my mind but said nothing. I did not see her again after that meeting until about six months later. She told me she had not set her eyes on Joseph since the encounter in my office.

People usually send out signals with their body language and noticing these signals is a very useful social skill. It comes naturally to some people but many are notoriously oblivious to them. With a little extra alertness and enough practice, learning to read body language can become a second nature. And it can save one from embarrassing and even dangerous situations. Similarly, your eyes can tell a story. A look at the eyes can be quite revealing.

Recently a young lady of about 35 years of age came to see me because she was feeling some discomfort in her eyes. She couldn’t really explain herself. As she spoke I noticed she had a stare. When someone is looking straight ahead, the upper lids cover the upper third of the black of the eye (cornea).

When you can see the entire eyeball without the person actually staring we call it lid retraction and this could be a hint that something is wrong. Instinctively, l looked at her neck and I could see some fullness. After a few searching questions which shed further light on the nature of her problem, I took her arms and felt her pulse. It was about 140 beats per minute. The story suggested a thyroid disease and further tests confirmed this.

Lawrence, a 45-year-old man had been having severe headache for two months. He decided to visit the hospital when he could no longer bear the pains. As he described his headache, I noticed that his left upper eyelid was drooping.

We call this ptosis. I also noticed that the eye was looking down and out. “Do you see double?” I asked him. “Yes I do but when I shut one eye the double vision disappears,” he answered. “You have a paralysis of one of the nerves to the muscles responsible for moving the eyeball,” I told him.

I went on to describe the possible causes and the most likely one in his case which is an abnormal vascular dilatation inside his brain. We call this aneurysm.  I sent him to the neuro-surgeon for further evaluation and treatment.

By far the greatest story told was that of a 50-year-old woman. She was really confused as to the nature of her problem. She had been feeling unwell for quite a while. The most prominent symptoms I could discern from her babble were headaches and dizziness.

She was slightly pale, her skin was smooth and radiant suggesting she had added some weight recently. My eyes dropped to her tummy and the story was complete. “Ma’am, you are pregnant?” I said authoritatively. “I am 50 and I last saw my menstrual period over a year ago,” she protested vehemently. Further examination confirmed she was three months pregnant.

Can the story be wrong? Joseph could well have been a perfect gentleman! Once in a while we may get a wrong impression from the body language or the story as told by the eyes. The probability of getting it right increases with practice. Isn’t that what is called experience?

Now Dr Ben, “Can you tell if someone loves you just looking into their eyes?” “Yes, you can!”  If you look at their eyes and see their pupils expand that means they really truly love you. Unfortunately, for a black man with dark or brown iris and a grey to black pupil, this observation is nearly impossible at a safe distance.

To confirm, you really have to move close. In these days and age of sexual harassment, you had better be careful about what you say or do lest the sins of your youth are visited on you in old age. Finally, “Why is it that only women complain about sexual harassment? Are men not sexually harassed too?” I leave that to my colleague, Dr. Jibril to answer.

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