The notion that an eye exam can potentially save your life may sound dramatic, but it’s true.
When a retiree noticed a change in her vision in one eye and went in for an eye exam, her eye doctor detected the possible early symptoms of a stroke and sent her straight to the hospital. The medical team discovered that the patient’s carotid artery was almost completely blocked and that she was in imminent risk of suffering from a stroke.
Her eye exam may have saved her life!
While not all medical conditions that may be uncovered during a comprehensive eye exam are that urgent, there’s a lot we can learn from this life-saving story.
At Parkland Eye & Vision in Tacoma we’ll assess your vision and eye health not only for signs of eye disease, but to catch other medical conditions as early as possible.
Eye Health and General Health Conditions: Are They Related?
In addition to giving your eye doctor insight into your eye health, what else can a thorough eye exam tell us about your general health?
An eye exam can alert us to a patient’s multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease.
During a retinal exam, your eye doctor analyzes the health of the blood vessels in your eyes. For example, too much blood sugar due to diabetes causes the blood vessels to narrow, affecting the flow of blood to parts of the body, including the eyes. And the blockage of a blood vessel can signal a stroke.
For multiple sclerosis, one early warning sign is damage to the optic nerve, something your eye doctor can detect during an eye exam
It goes without saying that a comprehensive eye exam also enables your eye doctor to diagnose sight-threatening conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. The sooner they’re diagnosed and treated, the lower the chances of permanent vision loss.
How Can An Eye Exam Detect a Brain Tumor?
During a comprehensive eye exam an eye doctor checks the nerves in the eyes. A brain tumor can cause the nerves to swell. Additionally, sudden vision loss or the shrinking of the visual field can be a symptom of a problem in the brain, including, rarely, a tumor.
How Often Should Diabetics Have an Eye Exam?
Diabetics have a higher risk of eye disease than the general population, so it’s crucial that they have regular diabetic eye exams at least once a year, or as recommended by their eye doctor.