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Eye Exams: What Can They Reveal About Your Health?

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Your annual eye exams are about much more than testing your vision or getting fitted for new glasses. During these appointments, your eye doctor might actually be able to catch a wide variety of serious health complications in their earliest stages. Here is a look at just a handful of dangerous medical conditions that can affect your eyes.

High Cholesterol

Our eyes actually contain quite a bit of blood for their size, and that is why many conditions that affect the blood stream are often noticed in the eyes. The same plaque that clings to the inside of an individual’s veins might also start to damage their pupils. That is why patients who have high blood pressure often develop yellowish rings near their pupils and corneas.

Diabetes

One of the most common side effects of untreated diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, and this condition can permanently impair a patient’s vision when it is not caught early. These issues have become so prevalent that many eye doctors now screen for diabetes during their routine appointments. Fluctuations in one’s blood sugar levels can create swollen and damaged veins throughout the eye.

Cancer

A healthy eyeball should maintain a very specific shape, and any changes to that shape can create vision problems. Nearby cancerous cells not only have the ability to change the pigmentation of an eye, but they might force it to become oblong as well. Skin cancer can also be diagnosed during an eye exam if the basal cell carcinomas have developed on a patient’s eyelids.

Arthritis

Even though arthritis is a condition that affects the joints, it can also impact one’s vision. Some forms of arthritis are caused by autoimmune disorders, and these diseases will affect almost every major system in the body. Professionals, like Evans, Robt. L Dr., know that autoimmune disorders can be difficult to manage.  Older patients who have a high risk of developing an autoimmune disease should schedule additional eye exams every year to screen for these conditions.

Multiple Sclerosis

The vast majority of eye tics are completely harmless, but patients should still be wary of this peculiar symptom. If the tics do not go away after a few weeks, then they might be the result of a neurological disorder such as multiple sclerosis. Many doctors who specialize in neurological disorders work closely alongside ophthalmologists to catch these kinds of side effects early.

As a general rule, a healthy patient should schedule an appointment with their ophthalmologist or optometrist at least once a year. If any unusual issues are discovered during these exams, then they should immediately contact their primary doctor to discuss further screening.