The importance of regular eye exams
Blood pressure? Check. Weight? Check. Pee in a cup? Check. Seeing an eye doctor regularly?
Patients may be caught off guard if their doctor asks the last question during an annual checkup, but a “comprehensive eye exam isn’t just about vision,” says Dr. Mark Jacquot, an optometrist and vice president of Vision Care Operations for LensCrafters. “It can provide information about a person’s overall health and serve as an early indicator of other conditions, like diabetes, which can lead to serious eye disease, like diabetic retinopathy.”
Additionally, the retina, or the back of the eye, is the only place in your body that gives doctors a close-up view of your blood vessels and nerves without your needing to be cut open. We asked trusted eye-care experts to tell us which conditions they may help diagnose during your regular exam. And don’t miss these secrets that eye doctors won’t tell you.
An eye exam may save your life. We can find everything from brain tumors to breast and lung cancers that have spread to the eye, says Joseph Pizzimenti, an optometrist and associate professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry Eye Care Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Certain types of bleeding in the retina can signal leukemia. Eye doctors can diagnose brain tumors based on changes in a patient’s field of vision. Malignant melanoma can strike in back of the eye, and patients often don’t know it is there unless the cancer is in the very center of their field of vision, Pizzimenti says.