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Importance of Regular Eye Exams

By editor
September 30, 2018

Some people underestimate an importance of regular eye exams, as they think that if nothing is hurting in the eyes and their vision seems normal, there is no need to go to an Ophthalmologist or an Optometrist. However, a sight test can pick up early signs of eye conditions before a person starts feeling symptoms, and eyes don't usually hurt when something is wrong.

In addition to determining if you need a different prescription for your eye glasses, the eye doctor can detect if you have a number of eye conditions that patients typically do not feel especially at early stages, such as glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal problems.

Comprehensive eye exams are recommended once every two years for optimum eye health and overall wellness. A comprehensive eye exam can be effective just like a physical exam in determining your overall health. Ophthalmologists can detect illnesses such as -

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • High cholesterol
  • Thyroid disease
  • Certain cancers
    and some other tumors

An eye doctor can refer you to a specialist that specializes in the ailment that is detected during an eye exam. These are several health conditions that your eye doctor can discover during an eye exam:

    1. Diabetes - Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the retina of the eyes. These blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid, and this may be discovered in an eye exam. If your eye doctor notices this condition, you may have a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
    2. Hypertension - Blood vessels in the eye may exhibit bends, kinks or tears, and this may be an indication of high blood pressure.

  1. Autoimmune disorders - If the eye is inflamed, this may be a sign of Lupus or another autoimmune disorder.
  2. High cholesterol - The cornea may have a yellowish appearance or a yellow ring around it which can be a sign of high cholesterol. There also may be plaques in the blood vessels of the retina which could indicate elevated cholesterol.
  3. Thyroid disease - One of the telltale signs of thyroid disease are bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs. This condition is also known as Graves Disease.
  4. Cancer - If your eye doctor notices that the structure of your eye is unusual, you may be referred to a specialist. Ocular melanoma can develop in the cells that make pigmentation in the eye. Your eye exam can also help detect skin cancer. Basal cell carcinomas can appear on the eyelid and could even spread to the brain through the eye.
  5. Tumors - Droopy eyelid or irregularly shaped pupils could possibly indicate a neck tumor or an aneurism.

Typically an eye exam is recommended every 1 to 2 years. However, there are certain symptoms that would necessitate an eye test sooner than that. Consult with your eye doctor if you start experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Your eyes are red, dry, itchy, or you are seeing spots, flashes of light, or floaters.
  • You get motion sick, dizzy, or have trouble following a moving target.
  • You hold books or the newspaper further away from your face and squint or close one eye to read them clearly.
  • You have difficulty driving at night and seeing street signs in the dark.
  • You experience eye strain, headaches and/or blurred vision after spending an extended amount of time in front of a computer screen.
  • You notice any changes in your vision, especially after an incident of head trauma.
  • You have diabetes or another health condition that affects your eyes. Also, if you have a family history of conditions like diabetes or glaucoma you may need exams more often, especially as you move into your 50's and beyond.


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