Many adults dismiss the importance of routine annual eye exams because they have never had vision problems. The truth is that a routine eye exam is far more important than just detecting vision issues. In fact, many eye doctors are the first line of defense when it comes to early detection of some health conditions. Your eye doctor can spot symptoms in your eye health that indicate the potential for health problems not yet apparent to your primary care doctor. Here's a look at some of what you need to know.
Early Stroke Risk Identification
Most people don't realize that an eye exam can actually detect a potential stroke before it happens, allowing patients to reach out to their primary care before the problem occurs. Your eye doctor may identify a blocked blood vessel behind your eye, which could pose a risk for stroke. You can then reach out to your primary care doctor and may be able to prevent that stroke from ever happening.
Diabetes can be devastating to your eyes. It can affect the capillaries in your eyes, creating a condition known as retinopathy. If this happens and you don't treat both the condition and your diabetes, you may ultimately end up blind. The sooner your eye doctor identifies retinopathy, the sooner you can get proper treatment for that and your diabetes to prevent blindness.
Many autoimmune conditions become apparent in the condition of your eyes, and may first become suspected by your eye doctor during a routine exam. For example, inflammation in your eyes can be indicative of rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, or other inflammatory autoimmune conditions. The sooner you identify these symptoms, the sooner you can seek diagnosis and treatment that may ultimately ease a lot of other symptoms, too.
Blood Pressure Problems
When you have high blood pressure, your eyes will reflect that in the condition of the veins behind your eye. Your eye doctor will notice if those veins seem to be bulging or under stress, which are both signs that your blood pressure is too high.
Although many cancers show no symptoms in the eyes at all, there are some that can become apparent during an eye exam. For example, if you have retinal bleeding, that's an indication of leukemia, while marked vision changes may indicate the presence of a brain tumor that's affecting your eyesight.
As you can see, your eye doctor is far more important than you may give them credit for. Reach out for your annual eye exam today.