An eye exam has the potential to save your life. That may sound dramatic, but it’s true. In this blog, Michigan Eye Institute’s doctors share which life-threatening conditions they can catch during a routine eye exam.
- High blood pressure. This condition damages blood vessels throughout the body, including in the eyes. During an exam, eye doctors notice changes to the retina, narrowing of the blood vessels, and swelling of optic nerve’s base. All of these issues are indicators of high blood pressure. Studies have shown that people with high blood pressure are two to four times more likely to suffer a stroke.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic dry eye is the most common indicator that a patient may have RA. Combine dry eye with at least two flare ups of iritis (a super painful inflammation of the iris) within a year, and it’ll be hard to rule out that there’s a serious inflammatory problem. Inflammatory diseases such as RA don’t just affect joints in the hands and feet; these inflammatory chemicals can also travel to the eyes, causing the conditions mentioned above.
- Brain tumors. Eye exams can detect brain tumors, which can cause vision loss as well as different types of cancers such as breast or lung cancer that consequently spread to the eye. Additionally, certain types of retina bleeding can signal leukemia. Often times, patients don’t normally know there is anything wrong until the cancer is in the center of their vision.
Regular eye exams are the best way to promote eye and body health; we recommend annual exams and the use of 100% UV protection sunglasses whenever outdoors. If you experience any of the following symptoms, let your doctors at MEI know as soon as possible:
- Chronic redness or dryness of the eyes
- Dark spots floating in your vision