Your eyes are not only the window to your soul, they can also give eye doctors clues to diseases that may be starting in your body. Eye doctors have the unique ability to see nerves and blood vessels when they are looking at the back of your eye and retina. When something is noticed during a routine eye exam, further tests, such as blood work or ultrasounds can be scheduled to give your primary care physician the information needed to plan the best course of action for your health care. Here are just a few of the diseases the eye doctor may see before anyone else.
High Blood Pressure
Most people experience no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure until it is too late. However, if you are experiencing blurry vision and go see your eye doctor, he or she may find damage to the blood vessels that supply the retina, indicating the early stages of high blood pressure. If your blood pressure has been high for any length of time, or is extremely high, the blood vessels may rupture and there will be blood on the retina. Unless you see your physician to have your blood pressure checked regularly, the disease will probably remain undiagnosed until the eye doctor finds it.
When there is a buildup of sugar in the bloodstream, it can begin to break down the tiny capillaries in your body. This will allow blood and fluids to leak into the eyeball, clouding your vision. If you fail to see your doctor and begin treatment for diabetes, new blood vessels will grow across the retina, leaving scar tissue from the damaged ones. This is called diabetic retinopathy and may lead to blindness.
In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, you may experience dry eyes because glands are no longer producing fluids. These fluids not only keep the eyes moist, but also help to lubricate the joints. Your primary care physician may be sending you for different tests to determine the cause of your painful joints, but the eye doctor can see the lack of fluid from the lacrimal glands (tear ducts) and help with the diagnosis.
You may want to schedule your annual eye doctor appointment six months after your regular check up with your primary care physician. This will give you an extra look at your overall health. Your eye doctor may find some illness in its earliest stage so that you can get it taken care of before it becomes serious.
For professional eye care, contact a company such as Webster Eye Care.