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Diseases Your Eye Exam Can Detect

Your eyes are the windows to your health. Often times, people think comprehensive eye exams are only for individuals with vision issues. The truth is an eye exam can be as effective as a physical in determining your health.

Eye doctors can detect all sorts of health problems - not just related to eye disease. These are problems that may have otherwise gone detected. Here are just a few reasons why eye exams are potentially life-saving.

Common Health Issues an Eye Exam Can Detect

Optometrists can spot several health issues during a comprehensive eye exam. Many people find themselves leaving the eye doctor with a referral to another specialist because of their eye exam.

Here are just a few health problems that may be discovered during an eye exam:

  • Stroke: Sometimes eye doctors can detect blood vessel blockages in the back of the eye, which pose a high stroke risk. A regular vision exam can help detect a stroke before it happens, especially in older individuals.

  • Diabetes: Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the retina of the eyes. These blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid, and this may be discovered in an eye exam. If your eye doctor notices this condition, you may have a condition called diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. An early diagnosis followed by treatment dramatically reduces this risk.

  • Autoimmune Disorders: Eye doctors can often detect signs of autoimmune diseases. For example, inflamed eyes are a sign of Lupus or another autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Cancer: Different types of cancer can be detected during comprehensive eye exams. For example, your eyes can indicate if you have skin cancer, retinal bleeding can indicate leukemia, and brain tumors can be detected based on vision changes.

  • High Blood Pressure: Arteriovenous nicking or bulged veins at the back of the eye can signify high blood pressure.

When people are unaware of these problems, an eye exam can be life-saving. The eye is the only place in the body where a doctor can have an unobstructed view of our blood vessels, nerves and connecting tissue — without any need for surgery.

The eye has the same microscopic tissue as our other major organs and is an important part of our larger nervous system. This means that abnormalities spotted in the eye may signal the same changes in other parts of the body.

What to Expect During an Eye Exam (And When to Get One)

An eye exam is a relatively simple procedure that takes 45 to 90 minutes. After taking your medical history, your eye doctor will check your:

  • Visual acuity

  • Retina

  • Pupils

  • Side vision

  • Optic nerve

  • Eye movement

  • Eye pressure

  • Front eye

Eye exams for children are especially important. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus recommend comprehensive exams at the following milestones:

  • Newborn

  • Infant (between 6 months and a year old)

  • Preschool (around 3 years old)

  • Elementary school (once a year, grades 1-5)

Even if you don’t require vision correction, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all adults get a complete eye examination annually and especially at age 40. This is when early signs of disease or changes in vision may appear.

Don’t Wait! Schedule Your Eye Exam Today

Early treatment can help preserve your vision and safeguard your overall health. Scheduling annual appointments with the eye doctor is just as important as yearly medical checkups.

Contact our offices at (952) 944-2792 or through our online form and make an annual eye exam a part of your preventative care!


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