Did you know that an eye exam can be as effective as a physical in determining your health? Unfortunately, many Americans put off going to the eye doctor if they feel like their vision has not changed. Comprehensive eye exams are important for many reasons. Your eyesight may change very gradually over time, and you may not even know that you need a stronger prescription. Your eye doctor will also perform several tests during the eye examination that will rule out eye disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts or retinal problems.
Along with eye-related concerns, eye doctors may even be able to detect other health issues during a comprehensive eye exam. In fact, you may even find yourself leaving the eye doctor with a referral to another specialist because of a specific test that your ophthalmologist performed during your comprehensive eye exam. 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. 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.
- Hypertension— Blood vessels in the eye may exhibit bends, kinks or tears, and this may be an indication of high blood pressure.
- Autoimmune disorders— If the eye is inflamed, this may be a sign of Lupus or another autoimmune disorder.
- High cholesterol— The cornea may have a yellowish appearance or a yellow ring around it which can be a sign of high cholesterol. There also may be plaques in the blood vessels of the retina which could indicate elevated cholesterol.
- Thyroid disease— One of the telltale signs of thyroid disease are bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs. This condition is also known as Graves Disease.
- Cancer— If your eye doctor notices that the structure of your eye is unusual, 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. Basal cell carcinomas can appear on the eyelid and could even spread to the brain through the eye.
- Tumors— Droopy eyelid or irregularly shaped pupils could possibly indicate a neck tumor or an aneurism (Source: Digital Journal).
Comprehensive eye exams are recommended once every two years for optimum eye health and overall wellness. If you are not currently under the care of an eye doctor, you can locate a physician in your area using our physician locator tool.