7 Potential Health Issues Spotted by Eye Exams
By Sandy Schroeder
While eye exams evaluate eye health, they may also provide a glimpse of overall health, according to retina specialist Dr. Rahul Khurana. The nerves, veins and arteries in the eyes may provide early warnings of other health issues.
Age 40 Eye Exam Needed
Khurana recommends a baseline eye exam be done by age 40 to intercept health issues, such as these listed by Prevention.
Blood pressure warnings – Hypertension can trigger a stroke or heart disease without warning, but an eye exam can show changes in the eye’s blood vessels that bulge or tighten, indicating possible problems. Check with your doctor and consider seeing a cardiologist to evaluate blood pressure and other heart disease symptoms.
Blurry vision stress cry – When an unexpected development triggers a rush of adrenaline, blurry vision may follow. Studies show fluid buildup under the eye’s retina may create hazy vision. See an ophthalmologist and a doctor.
Night vision driving challenges – A deficiency in Vitamin A can impact the eye’s ability to deal with light, making night driving difficult. Get at least 700 micrograms of Vitamin A daily. Eat more sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach.
Spotting diabetes – Out of 30 million Americans with diabetes, only 8 million have been diagnosed, according to Prevention. An eye exam can spot the symptoms in weak blood vessels in the retina. If the disease is caught early, loss of vision may be prevented.
Overactive thyroid – Bulging eyes may signal Graves disease, which is triggered when the thyroid gland goes into overdrive, generating hormones that attack eye socket tissues and muscles. Follow the eye exam with a visit to the doctor.
MS alert – Inflammation in the optic nerve, which is part of the central nervous system, is seen in as many as 75 percent of multiple sclerosis cases. An eye exam could raise this red flag signalling a doctor's checkup.
IQ and health alerts – An eye exam can be a “window into brain health” for scientists, according to Idan Shalev, PhD, Pennsylvania State University. Also, a 2013 study in Psychological Science found the size of eye vessels may link to brain power. Looking at retinal vessels of adults in their 30s, research showed ones with narrower vessels had higher IQ scores than wide-vessel participants. Future research may show why wide vessels link to poorer brain function.
If you are 40, you may want to consider The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s recommendation to use a baseline eye exam to intercept eye issues, and potential health problems.
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