During routine eye exams we sometimes find some surprises in patients who have indicated no symptoms. The most common surprise is the detection of glaucoma. Since it can cause vision loss if not detected and treated early, we make sure to look for this during each exam.
Since the eye is the only place in the body where we can literally see blood vessels, we can usually tell if someone has had high blood pressure for long periods of time. Occasionally the patient will report no blood pressure problems. We advise them to double check with their primary care doctor, just to make sure.
As much as most people dislike being dilated, it truly does give doctor the best view available of your peripheral retina. While some practices take a photograph instead of dilating, I would rather see the retina with my own eyes rather than interpret a picture. A careful peripheral dilated exam, can reveal retinal holes, tears, and hemorrhaging. All of these problems are referred to a retinal specialist and often require minor surgery. When problems are caught early they can be stopped before there is a need for major surgery.
Furthermore, when the eye is dilated it is easy to see small hemorrhages associated with diabetes even though the patient has no symptoms.
Eye exams have even detected things like thyroid problems, Multiple Sclerosis and Myasthenia Gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fluctuating degrees of muscle weakness and fatiguability.
A comprehensive eye exam is important to securing your best vision health. If it's been a while, give us a call and set up an appointment today.
Christopher Stroud, O.D.