A routine eye exam can give you early warning of some serious diseases. When your eye doctor looks at your eye, he or she has a good view of delicate tiny blood vessels, nerves, and other sensitive tissues. Diseases affecting blood flow or the nerves often show up in the eye before you may notice symptoms. Here are six health problems your eye doctor may find with a routine eye exam.
Examination of your eye's blood vessels could give tell-tale signs of hypertension, or high blood pressure. Blood vessels often appear narrow and kinked. In some cases, they may be bleeding. If not treated, hypertension can lead to further vision problems like glaucoma.
Diabetes has a direct effect on the eye. Often, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy begins small with blood vessels leaking minute amounts of yellow fluid. Your eye doctor may find this condition before you experience other signs of the disease.
Thyroid disease sometimes causes eyes to bulge out and become very dry. You may also experience headaches and pressure behind the eye as well. These problems are often caused by abnormal thyroid hormones.
People with high cholesterol often have a yellowish tinge on the cornea that may go unnoticed by the average person. You may also have a white ring around the iris known as an arcus. When your eye doctor examines your retinal blood vessels, he or she may also find plaques.
Some autoimmune disorders cause swelling or inflammation in or around the eyes or eyelids. For example, lupus often affects the sclera, or the white of the eye. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the iris. Optic neuritis often affects people with multiple sclerosis. An eye doctor may see changes to the optic nerve early with a retinal examination and could detect the first signs of MS.
Mental Health Issues
Some mental health issues can actually be detected with a routine eye exam. One of the tests your eye doctor does is eye tracking. Patients with certain conditions, like schizophrenia, have trouble with tracking. Other mental health issues may also contribute to visual acuity and movement problems.
Your eye doctor cannot officially diagnose these health problems. However, an eye exam could give you a heads-up so you can see your physician before you have a serious problem. Every adult should have a routine eye exam on a regular basis whether you have visual acuity problems or not. For more information about routine eye examinations or if you are experiencing vision problems, visit an eye clinic, such as Leader Heights Eye Center, as soon as possible.