Eye Exam Can Reveal Other Health Problems

Reported by: Lauren Gawthrop
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Updated: 4/02/2012 8:28 am
Your next trip to the ophthalmologist could reveal more than a vision problem. It turns out, you can find out a lot about your health during an eye exam.

Sometimes a patient comes in complaining of a vision problem, but eye doctors say sometimes it's related to, or perhaps even being caused by, a bigger health concern.

But it can also be discovered another way. A patient can also come in with no symptoms at all and one look into their eyes by an ophthalmologist tells the story.

"It would really be an asymptomatic event," said Cleveland Clinic ophthalmologist Dr. Rishi Singh. "So, a lot of these micro-vascular changes in diabetes and high blood pressure don't really occur until very late in the disease state when they start to develop vision problems. So, early on they say vision looks normal, a little bit of blurring, occasional changes, but they wouldn't really be able to correlate these acute events that they might notice until late in the disease state. That's why screening is so key."

In addition to diabetes and high blood pressure, eye exams can catch early signs of MS and strokes in the eye that are associated with leukemia and lymphoma.

Dr. Singh says you should have a dilated eye exam at least once every five years if you have no family history of disease.
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