All too often people dismiss the importance of an eye exam because they believe that it is only necessary when they have vision problems. The truth is that not only can a preventative eye exam identify vision deterioration much earlier, but you'll also find that routine eye exams can also identify a variety of health conditions, including some very serious ones. Here are some of the things that your eye doctor might be able to diagnose.
You may not realize it, but an eye exam can actually reveal early indications of the presence of an aneurysm, allowing you to seek medical attention before it bursts. When you have an aneurysm, it can create symptoms such as swelling in the optic nerve or increased retinal pressure. When your eye doctor identifies these types of symptoms, it raises red flags for the potential of an aneurysm, so you'll typically receive a referral to seek medical attention.
There are a variety of brain complications that become apparent with an eye exam as well. When you have fluid in your brain or the presence of a tumor, either one increases the pressure on your brain. This, in turn, increases the pressure behind your eyes and causes swelling of the optic nerve. Your eye doctor can identify the presence of increased pressure behind your eye and recommend that you seek diagnostic care.
High Blood Pressure
The blood vessels in and around the eyes are small and delicate. When you have high blood pressure, that increased pressure becomes readily apparent during an eye exam because the vessels in your eyes will be under increased pressure and will appear enlarged. In fact, many cases of high blood pressure are diagnosed after an optometry visit.
Many autoimmune conditions have symptoms that reflect within the optic nerve or retina. Some lead to increased pressure behind your eyes or can cause your eyes to become more pronounced, as is the case with some thyroid conditions. Your eye doctor might be the first to identify symptoms of an autoimmune disease that could trigger the need for an antibody test. It is especially easier to spot these sometimes subtle changes when you have an established relationship with the eye doctor who can spot changes over time.
These are some of the most important ways that an eye exam can benefit your health far beyond just your vision.