Many people assume that they only need to make an appointment with an eye doctor when they need a new prescription for their glasses or contacts. While that is the main reason that many see an eye doctor, a comprehensive eye exam can actually provide information about your overall health that is very important. Thus, even if you don't need corrective lenses, it is still important to get regular eye exams. Some common issues that an exam can detect include:
Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a very dangerous condition if it is not properly treated and managed. Unfortunately, many people with the beginnings of type 2 diabetes do not realize that they have it. Many eye doctors discover that a person has the early stages of type 2 diabetes when doing an eye exam. An eye exam can show small amounts of bleeding on the retina, which is a sign of diabetic retinopathy. When diabetic retinopathy is discovered early, lifestyle changes and medication can halt the damage, which can prevent blindness and other serious complications caused by uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a condition that is very harmful for a person's heart and circulatory system, but it does not have many physical symptoms. During an eye exam, and eye doctor may notice that the blood vessels in the eye may have tears or kinks, which are common with hypertension. There are a number of ways to control high blood pressure, including prescription medication. If your eye doctor is concerned that you may have high blood pressure, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
A routine eye exam can determine if you have optic neuritis, which is inflammation of the optic nerve. Optic neuritis may cause blurry vision, but in some people optic neuritis does not cause any symptoms. A very large percentage of people who are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis experience optic neuritis. In many cases, optic neuritis may be the first sign of multiple sclerosis.
High cholesterol can contribute to heart disease and cause a number of health problems. Like high blood pressure, many people may not realize that they have high cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, your cornea may be slightly yellow or have a yellow ring around it, which an eye doctor will notice when examining your eyes. It is also possible for there to be a build up of plaque in the blood vessels of your cornea, which can be an indication of high cholesterol.