By just taking a look at your eyes, an eye doctor can tell a lot about your health. You should have an eye examination at the minimum of once a year. While eye exams can detect minor eye conditions, including dry eyes and a range of other eye infections, a simple eye exam can unveil several serious or chronic health problems. You can check out the website of this Florida Optometrist called Elite Vision Centers to get a good idea of what an eye exam entails.

Patients are often caught off guard during their visit to their eye doctor when their routine eye check-up reveals unknown health issues. For example, a closer look at the retina, and an eye doctor can tell how healthy your nerves and blood vessels are without having to physically examine them. For this reason alone, eye doctors always stress that patients should have a routine eye exam to help detect any serious medical issues so that they can be treated at their earliest stages.

Below are some health conditions that a simple eye exam can help reveal.

1. Cancer

Patients have learned that a simple eye exam can be a lifesaver. Anything from minor brain tumors to life-threatening lung and breast cancers has been detected through the eye because the disease has spread there. For instance, when the retina experiences some bleeding, it could be a sign that one has leukemia. By analyzing changes in one's field of vision, eye doctors can diagnose brain tumors. Patients often have no idea that malignant melanoma has hit the back of their eye unless the cancer is within their field of vision.

2. Diabetes

When a patient has drops of blood in their retina, it could be a first sign of type 2 diabetes, particularly diabetic retinopathy. Eye doctors meet many patients with this kind of damage but are yet to be diagnosed with diabetes. However, blindness may occur if such a condition goes unnoticed or left untreated. Early detection and treatment of this condition reduce the risk of blindness by 50 percent. Early detection of retinopathy allows the patient to make some lifestyle adjustments like opting for a healthier diet and exercising to lose weight. This helps the patient prevent further damage to his or her body.

3. Dementia

The visual system is easily damaged by some types of dementia, resulting in visual constraints, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Visual difficulties can also arise from rarer forms of this condition, including posterior cortical atrophy.

4. Hypertension

It is not uncommon for a patient to be informed they have high blood pressure during their visit for a routine eye check-up. This is because eye doctors can see narrowed or leaking blood vessels when they examine the patient's retina. High blood pressure patients are at risk of developing hypertensive retinopathy, which may cause thickening of blood vessel walls, causing the inner walls of the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow. Sometimes there is a swelling in the retina and leakage in the blood vessels.

5. Multiple Sclerosis

A good sign of the possible existence of multiple sclerosis is optic neuritis, which is inflammation targeting the patient’s optic nerve. This degenerative disease increases the chances of developing optic neuritis, as 3 in 4 patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis often end up suffering from optic neuritis. However, having optic neuritis does not always mean that one has multiple sclerosis; another infection could be causing it.

6. Arthritis

Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammation in the patient’s joints, are likely to extend to the eyes and cause dry eyes. Some severe cases may result in inflammation of the patient’s iris. About 1 in 4 people with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have eye problems. Their blood contains high concentrations of inflammatory chemicals, which can move to occupy a space in the eyeball. This is easily detected by carrying out a simple eye exam.

While an eye exam is often meant to assess the health of the eyes and recommend the best treatment option for any eye related issues, eye tests have also proven useful in detecting chronic diseases in their early and treatable stages. It is recommended to have a routine eye exam at least once a year to monitor the health of your eyes, as well as uncover any other undiagnosed illness that may be detected during the routine exam.

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