Many people get an annual eye exam to check to health of their eyes. People who wear glasses go to see if there are any changes in their prescription and update as their glasses as needed. However, eye exams can also detect a wide number of health issues that you may not know about. This is why it is especially important to see your optometrist at least once every year or two.
By studying the structure of your eye, the doctor can detect a type of cancer known as ocular melanoma. The cancer attacks the cells in the eye that make pigment and is typically seen in adults. People with this cancer may experience dark spots in their vision or changes in the shape of the pupil. There are nearly no other symptoms, so it is hard to detect through any other method than an eye examination.
If you suffer from diabetes, you may develop diabetic retinopathy. Because it has no symptoms in the early stage, it is difficult to catch. Once the retinopathy advances, you may have blurred vision, black spots in your vision, or blindness. According to the National Institute of Health, it is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is crucial to make regular visits to your eye doctor if you have long-term diabetes.
It may sound strange, but eye examinations can reveal influenza in the early stages. By finding the flu early, you have a better chance at fighting it off before it gets worse. The flu is detected by a papillary reaction underneath the eyelids, which take the form of raised bumps similar to goose bumps in appearance.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that attacks a person's central nervous system. Since the optic nerve is part of the brain, an examination of it may detect the disease. If the nerve appears damaged or the patient is experiencing issues related to the optic nerve, it may be a starting place to test for the disease. Patients who are suspected of having MS will go through an MRI exam as a follow-up.
There are several other conditions that can be detected through an annual eye exam, such as hypertension. Your health is important, so it is crucial to schedule annual appointments with an eye doctor, like one from the Montgomery Eye Center. If you are experiencing any issues with your eyes, be sure to talk to your doctor about them.