Many people believe that if their vision seems unchanged, they don’t need to schedule regular appointments with their eye doctor. However, a visit to your ophthalmologist can help with more than just vision changes. Not only will your appointment reveal whether you have signs of developing eye disease, but your eyes can reveal a whole lot about what’s going on in the rest of your body. Even if you’re not experiencing signs of illness or changes in vision, keeping up-to-date on your eye exams can help reveal signs of these six surprising conditions:
- High Blood Pressure
The human eye is the one place doctors can see blood vessels without actually cutting into the body. Studies have found definitive links between heart disease and the narrowing of retinal blood vessels. The look of the arteries and veins located in the back of the eye can be a predictor of heart disease in many patients, especially women without traditional heart disease risk factors.
- Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, affects as many as 15 million Americans. It’s a progressive eye disease that attacks the macula of the eye — the place where our sharpest central vision occurs. Typically, AMD affects both eyes, but because it develops slowly, many patients don’t go to the doctor for their eye disease symptoms (which typically include mild to moderate blurry vision and vision loss) until it’s in the later stages. Early detection is key for effective macular degeneration treatment, so make sure to see your doctor regularly. If you’re seeking macular degeneration treatment in California or you want to obtain a firm diagnosis about what’s causing your distorted vision, contact us today for an appointment.
One of the first symptoms type 2 diabetes sufferers experience is retinal bleeding. If this retinal bleeding and its cause are left untreated, this condition can lead to blindness. These symptoms can be easy to miss, which is why it’s so important that you have regular eye examinations and make an appointment if you notice even the slightest change in your vision or the appearance of your eyes. When a patient can be diagnosed with both retinal bleeding and type 2 diabetes early, he or she can start the necessary diabetic retinopathy treatment in California.
- Multiple Sclerosis
An inflammation of the optic nerve — called optic neuritis — is one of the early signs of MS. Although having optic neuritis doesn’t always mean an MS diagnosis, it occurs in the majority of MS patients and many people don’t even realize they are afflicted, as it often has few or no symptoms at all. It’s vital to detect multiple sclerosis early, so having regular preventative eye care can go a long way.
- Cancer and Tumors
The eye is unique in that it has a relatively large blood supply for its size, and this is why certain tumors can develop in or spread to this area. Some types of cancers have been known to cause retinal bleeding, while brain tumors can often make themselves known by changing a patient’s field of vision. Unless malignant melanoma occurs right in the area of central vision, a patient may never know it’s there until it’s too late.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
A notable amount of RA patients experience eye issues, with dry eyes being the most common complaint. Although RA typically affects joints in the hands and feet, patients with rheumatoid arthritis have high levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood that can often migrate to the eyeball. If a patient experiences two or more episodes of iritis — or inflammation of the colored part of the eye called the iris — in one year, an ophthalmologist or specialist will suspect rheumatoid arthritis is to blame.
It can be easy to overlook the signs of eye disease, but it’s important to be diligent about keeping up with your eye health. Not only can regular visits and scheduled appointments with a specialist save your vision, but they can also save your life.