Eye exams can detect serious diseases

A number of common health conditions can be detected during your annual eye exam. These same conditions, if left untreated, can cause blindness, especially in people over 40.

According to a recent study1, "a comprehensive dilated eye exam can assess the advancement of the disease, how well the disease is being controlled and any ocular effects of medication to treat the disease. Early intervention of high-cost chronic diseases has significant benefits such as lower average annual long term health costs and improved health outcomes.""

Diabetic retinopathy gradually affects vision. During a routine eye exam, the doctor will see capillaries, damaged blood vessels, and blood or a yellow-colored fluid leaking, which indicates a dangerous blood sugar level. Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the eye's retina and is the leading cause of blindness in Americans aged 20-64 years old.

Another condition without apparent symptoms, heart disease, and high cholesterol, is a silent killer. High cholesterol causes fatty deposits or blockages in the blood vessels. Breakage can cause clotting leading to heart attack or stroke.

Weak or narrow arteries and tears or kinks in the eyes' blood vessels often indicate high blood pressure or hypertension. A notoriously symptomless disease, more than 1,000 people die a day when left untreated.

Inflammation in the eyes is indicative of arthritis-related autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Often, burning or dryness in the eyes motivates patients to visit the eye doctor only to discover that it is an autoimmune disorder causing vision problems, which can cause permanent damage to the eye.

Bulging eyes indicate several thyroid diseases, including Graves disease or hypothyroidism, whereas red and inflamed eyes often indicate Lyme disease. And thinning eyelashes are commonly seen with thyroid issues. These can all be diagnosed and treated before permanent vision loss occurs during an annual eye exam.

Other diseases and conditions commonly diagnosed during an eye exam are multiple sclerosis, tumors, cancer, nutritional deficiencies, retinal detachment, and glaucoma. A yearly eye exam can prevent permanent vision loss. Contact us online at New Vision Eye Center or call 772-257-8700 for more information or schedule a consultation with our World-Class Eye CareSM.

1 Chous, Linda and Thomas Knabel. Impact of Eye Exams in Identifying Chronic Conditions. Page 2. United Healthcare. Hartford, Connecticut. 2014.