Annual eye exams can help your doctor ensure that you're wearing the correct prescription for your glasses or contact lenses. However, regular eye exams also serve an important medical purpose. Having your eyes checked each year can help your eye doctor diagnose these four diseases:
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. When your blood pressure is too high, it can negatively impact your heart. Your eye doctor can check for signs of hypertension after they dilate your eyes, according to Blood Pressure UK. After your eyes have been dilated, your doctor will use a light to illuminate the back of your eyes, so they can check the veins there. Damaged veins or veins that are too large or small can indicate hypertension.
If your body does not produce enough insulin, or if it processes insulin incorrectly, that condition is called diabetes. Diabetes can sometimes be treated by losing weight or changing your diet, but in some cases you will need to give yourself insulin injections. Your eye doctor can test for diabetes the same way they test for hypertension, by dilating your eyes and examining their blood vessels with a medical eye exam.
3. High Cholesterol
High levels of cholesterol in your blood can lead to clogged arteries, which may end in heart attack. If you have unusually high cholesterol, the effects will be visible in your eyes. Your eye doctor will look for fatty yellow deposits in your eyes. The presence of this yellow discoloration is a sign of high cholesterol, and it can even cause eye discomfort in a significantly advanced stage.
Arthritis is a degenerative condition that most commonly affects your joints. Unfortunately, arthritis can also impact your eyes. If you have chronic dry eyes, you should ask your doctor about it at your next eye exam. Dry eyes can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, a type of arthritis caused by an autoimmune response. Your eye doctor can prescribe treatment to help cure your dry eyes, but if you have joint pain or inflammation, you should ask your general practitioner for a referral to a rheumatologist.
Take the best care of your body. Don't wait until things go wrong to visit your eye doctor. Getting these diseases diagnosed early can help your doctors treat them more effectively. You should view your eye doctor as an important part of the medical team providing your healthcare.