You go to your family doctor for a physical every year, but did you know an annual eye exam might be just as important to your overall health as your checkup? Many people incorrectly believe that they can forgo an eye exam if they don’t have any pressing concerns. But the truth is that a comprehensive eye exam is critical for many reasons.
For one, your eyesight can deteriorate, and you may not even know that you need a stronger prescription. Second, an eye exam can be a window into a person’s overall health. In order to evaluate your vision and eye health, your eye doctor will also look for signs and symptoms of eye disorders and diseases that could lead to vision loss.
Here are just a few health issues that may be discovered during an eye exam:
Diabetes— Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the retina of the eyes. In the event of diabetic retinopathy, these blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid. An eye exam can detect such a condition so you can manage it and avoid further complications.
Hypertension— Uncontrolled high blood pressure can affect the anatomy of the eye, causing blood vessels to appear distorted.
Autoimmune disorders— If the eye is inflamed, this could be an indication of Lupus or another autoimmune disorder.
High cholesterol— Patients with high triglycerides may have corneas that appear yellowish. Plaques in the blood vessels of the retina can also be telltale signs of elevated cholesterol.
Thyroid disease— Bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs can be physical signs of a thyroid condition known as Graves’ Disease.
Cancer— If your eye’s anatomy looks suspect, you may be referred to a specialist. Ocular melanoma can develop in the cells that make pigmentation in the eye. Your eye exam can also help detect skin cancer. Cancerous growths can appear on the eyelid and could even spread to the brain through the eye, so it’s important to be proactive.
It’s said that the eyes are the window into one’s overall health — and we know that to be true. Periodic eye examinations are a vital component of maintaining excellent overall health. An experienced optometrist can work with your medical team to accurately diagnose and treat a number of health conditions. With a preventive approach to care, you can preserve eye health and vision as you age. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today and enjoy peace of mind.