Did you know seeing an eye doctor can do more than help correct your vision? It’s true! Beyond finding and treating problems with your eyes, your optometrist could help detect other serious health issues. 

Why is eye care important?

Through a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist can spot problems in your eyes that may be symptoms of high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. When you think about all the ways a comprehensive annual eye exam can help not only your eye health but also your overall health, it might make you reconsider skipping this year’s exam. 

Identifying Signs of Eye Health Conditions

Along with the obvious symptoms you may go to an optometrist for, decrease or loss of vision, they can also help prevent and treat other eye problems you may have.

For kids, some of the most common eye problems are lazy eyes, crossed eyes, and blurred vision. An optometrist can help diagnose and treat these issues. Without treatment, these problems could worsen and affect a child’s ability to learn in school. 

As you get older, you may have more eye problems you need to see an optometrist for. Of course, there are the well-known problems of being near or farsighted. Astigmatism and presbyopia are also common among adults. There are also more serious eye problems that are less common but can still impact adults like macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. If left untreated, these issues may make it more difficult to see or you could lose your sight altogether. 

You may also notice these issues that you should talk to an optometrist about right away:

  • Double vision
  • Persistent eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Halos around light sources
  • Floaters or specks that appear in your vision
  • Flashes of light

Your optometrist will be able to provide treatment for these issues and help you prevent any conditions from worsening.

Identifying Signs of Health Conditions

Besides providing care for your eyes, your eye care provider can help identify other health issues through an annual eye exam. While they may not be able to treat the other health issues, they will likely be able to recognize the symptoms and make recommendations about the type of doctor you need to see. Some problems your optometrist may be able to spot are as follows.

Diabetes

People who have diabetes may have an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy that causes damage to the blood vessels in their retinas. 

High Blood Pressure

An optometrist can tell if a person has high blood pressure by looking at the blood vessels in the back of their eyes. 

High Cholesterol

People who have high cholesterol may have a blue or yellow ring around their corneas, or there could be deposits in the blood vessels in the retinas that may also indicate high cholesterol. 

Multiple Sclerosis

Inflammation in the optic nerves can cause blurriness or double vision in some patients. It can also make moving one’s eyes very difficult. 

The best way to keep your eyes well cared for is by making sure you have them checked annually by an optometrist. And if you have any changes in your vision or have concerns about your eye health, address the problems as soon as possible.

And if your optometrist mentions more significant issues or symptoms, it could be time to talk to your regular care provider. Together, your primary care provider and optometrist can find the best treatment and preventative care plan for you.