You may think your vision is fine, but there's still a very good reason to get an eye exam*—your overall health. Your retinas contain many nerves and small blood vessels, making them a great diagnostic tool for early disease detection. This is why getting a thorough eye exam that checks for more than vision correction is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Regular eye care exams are crucial for maintaining good eyesight and eye health. Many eye diseases and conditions do not have obvious signs or symptoms, especially in the early stages. This makes getting an early diagnosis vital, so that you can get proper treatment and potentially save your eyesight.
Keep reading to learn what your eyes could be trying to tell you with these diagnoses an eye exam can uncover.
Even if you feel perfectly healthy, you can never know what's looming below the surface. An unfortunate occurrence because even at the very early stages of pre-diabetes, a quick look at the blood vessels in your eye can help your eye doctor diagnose diabetes or pre-diabetes. And, the earlier you detect diseases like diabetes, the better chance you have of making positive lifestyle changes and preventing further complications. The telltale sign is called diabetic retinopathy and it can be detected when doctors find light hemorrhaging (bleeding) or small fluid leaks in the capillaries.
Ever wonder what that puff of air during your eye exam is for? It's called non-contact tonometry, or NCT, and it calculates your intraocular pressure. High pressure puts you at risk for glaucoma. Measuring this regularly is extremely important because glaucoma doesn't typically show symptoms until you're already suffering from significant vision loss. Another reason why 20/20 vision doesn't make you exempt from your next eye exam.
3. Heart Disease
Did you know the eye is the only place in the human body where doctors can get an unobstructed view of your blood vessels? Not the coolest fact to share at parties, but it's very important when it comes to early detection of cardiovascular disease. Doctors can view small changes in the blood vessels in the back of your eye. This can be even easier and more effective with recent advancements such as digital retinal imaging, which allows for an even more thorough monitoring.
4. Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is another disease that rarely shows visual symptoms in the early stages. One of the ways eye doctors might diagnose this in an eye exam is through vascular occlusion—the blockage of a blood vessel, usually with a clot. Catching and treating this early could help guard you against possible hemorrhaging in the eye, retinal detachment, or other symptoms.
Whether you wear glasses or have perfect 20/20 vision, you can see why it's important to schedule annual eye exams*, and why it's important your doctor performs a thorough eye exam that goes beyond getting your prescription right to check your overall health.
This post originally appeared on Pearle Vision.