The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true when it comes to your vision.
Even if your eyesight seems perfect, you still need to see an eye doctor regularly.
“More times than not, patients associate ‘good vision’ with healthy eyes. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not the case,” said Ryne Wood, an optometrist at Leet EyeCare. “A comprehensive eye examination can reveal underlying systemic issues that can not only save sight, but sometimes save lives as well.”
That’s because exams sometimes reveal serious medical conditions.
“The main things we screen for that people don’t know they have is the need for glasses, but you can also catch diabetes, hypertension, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration early before a patient may be aware that they have those things,” says John Kinder, ophthalmologist at Eye Consultants.
“Diabetes affects the small blood vessels in our body first,” says Jeremy Dohogne, also an optometrist at Leet EyeCare. “The eye is the only place in the body where blood vessels can be directly observed non-invasively. Therefore, primary care physicians and endocrinologists require their diabetic patients to have an eye exam to determine how well their diabetes is being controlled.
“Diabetic retinopathy can lead to permanent vision loss, and so, optometrists and ophthalmologists will recommend at least yearly eye exams for diabetic patients (more often for those with existing diabetic retinopathy),” he says.
Eye care professionals also may detect hypertension, or high blood pressure, when they observe increased pressure in the eyes. They are referred to their primary care physician for ongoing treatment for high blood pressure, which is managed through medication.
For most people though, a trip to the eye doctor means checking for eye diseases, like glaucoma, macular degeneration or dry-eye syndrome.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It has no symptoms, until the pressure…