Getting your eyes checked isn’t just about testing your vision. Did you know that a routine eye exam could reveal other possible health conditions?
Difficulty with your vision could signal any one of these health problems.
- Diabetes — Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. This condition, brought on by diabetes, causes a break down of blood vessels in the eyes. If during a routine eye exam, your eye doctor sees blood in your eyes, it may be due to leaky blood vessels from diabetic retinopathy. Keeping your diabetes in check can help prevent impaired vision or even blindness from diabetic retinopathy.
- High blood pressure — Blood in the eyes can also be a symptom of high blood pressure, a condition known as hyptertension retinopathy. High blood pressure can cause heart attack or stroke, and isn’t something to mess around with. If you have blurry vision and your eye doctor notices blood in your eye, the next step may be to check your blood pressure.
- Vasculitis — A condition that causes inflammation in the blood vessels and is often related to lupus, vasculitis can also affect your vision. Vasculitis can cause sudden loss of vision, or the development of small blood vessels in the eyes which can cause retinal problems, thinning of the sclera (the whites of the eyes), inflammation in the eye chambers, and conjunctivitis (a.k.a. “pinkeye”) During a dilated eye exam, your doctor can look for any swelling in the eye vessels that may signal vasculitis.
- Brain tumor — Though rare, a brain tumor could cause swelling in the optic nerve resulting in partial vision loss or poor peripheral vision.
A routine eye exam may result in more than a new prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Keeping up with eye exams is as important as seeing your primary care doctor for regular checkups. It’s also important to know your family history of diabetes and high blood pressure so that your eye doctor can be on the lookout for any signs of more serious health problems. The earlier eye conditions or other health problems are detected and treated, the better your odds of a good outcome.
If you have noticed sudden changes in your vision or have not had your eyes checked in more than a year, don’t wait any longer. Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam today.