Those who do not require the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses may feel that visiting an eye doctor is an unnecessary use of their time and money. What those with normal vision may not realize is that regular eye checkups can be an excellent way to track minute changes in the eyes that may lead to more serious eye health issues later.
Even more beneficial is the fact that having periodic eye examinations may also be an important diagnostic tool for spotting early signs of serious disease and health problems that may affect other parts of the body. If you have not been seeing an eye care professional on a regular basis, this information just might encourage you to start!
Indications of diabetes or pre-diabetic changes
Abnormally high blood sugar levels can create changes in the appearance and health of blood vessels located in the rear of the eye. During the basic eye examination, the eye doctor may note changes in the patient's file that may be related to rising blood sugar levels and then track them with each follow-up appointment.
Symptoms consistent with some forms of tumors
Some types of tumors, including those related to ocular cancer, are readily visible during an eye examination, even though they may be undetectable during a standard physical performed by a medical doctor. If these cancers are spotted early, such as during an eye examination, their ability to be successfully treated can be much higher.
Changes in the eye that indicate multiple sclerosis
The condition of the optic nerve can often provide an early indication of multiple sclerosis. During the part of the eye examination known as the dilated fundus exam, the optic nerve head and other important parts of the eye can be closely observed for signs of eye or other health issues.
In addition, an eye examination performed by a skilled optometrist can also spot small changes that may indicate that the patient is at higher than normal risk of experiencing a stroke. Signs of hypertensive retinopathy, including damage to blood vessels located in the back of each eye, can often be seen by the eye doctor during the portions of the exam that call for the eyes to be dilated.
Eye exams are also able to detect high cholesterol levels and indications of high blood pressure that can also be indicators of higher stroke risk. To learn more about the full-body benefits of having regular eye health examinations, make an appointment to speak with an optometrist in your area.