You already know that regular vision checkups are important, especially if you are nearsighted or farsighted, because your prescription can change over time. Even if you’ve never experienced difficulty with your vision, that can also change past age 60 or so. We all need a vision checkup around retirement time, and annually after that.
But did you know that your eyes can serve as a window into your health, and eyecare professionals are sometimes the first to notice an early warning sign of other health problems? That’s yet another reason to schedule regular eye exams.
What kind of health problems can be detected by an eye doctor? You might be surprised…
- Macular degeneration
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Brain tumors
Glaucoma and macular degeneration are both health problems that concern your eyes, so you’re probably not surprised to learn that an eye doctor is often the first to detect them. However, while these conditions can both lead to blindness, they are often undetected in their early stages. Rather than wait until symptoms develop, when the disease is already progressed to a more advanced stage, catch it early by visiting your eyecare professional regularly. Then you can seek early, and potentially more successful, treatments.
As for the rest, you already know that high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be two warning signs of more serious problems like heart disease. When detected early, diet and lifestyle changes can often reverse these symptoms and prevent heart attacks and other serious health complications. The same can be said of diabetes, in many cases, when caught very early in its development.
Finally, you would be surprised at how often eye doctors are the first to catch the signs of a brain tumor. When caught early, both benign and malignant brain tumors are much more treatable. In later stages, both can irreversibly damage vision, motor control, and more.
If you haven’t scheduled a vision checkup in more than a year, it’s time to take care of that chore now. Vision exams are quite comfortable and rarely take more than an hour of your time, so check this item off of your to-do list sooner rather than later.