Surprising Things That an Eye Exam Can Uncover

Did you know that a comprehensive exam of your eyes can reveal a lot more than just vision issues?

Information about the blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues throughout your body can be discovered through your eyes – an eye exam can show some of the first signs of disease lurking elsewhere. Here are 20 surprising conditions your eye doctor may detect during a comprehensive eye exam:

  • Aneurysm
  • Brain tumor
  • Cancers of blood, tissue or skin
  • Diabetes
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lupus
  • Lyme disease
  • Medication toxicities
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Stroke
  • Thyroid disease
  • Vascular disease
  • Vitamin A deficiency

It’s important to remember that these symptoms don’t guarantee you have a certain health condition. Whenever an eye exam reveals a possible health problem, your ophthalmologist will recommend further testing by a specialist or your primary care provider.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all adults get a complete eye examination at age 40. This is when early signs of disease or changes in vision may first appear. If you have risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of eye disease, don’t delay — schedule an eye exam at an earlier age.

This article was condensed from AAO’s EyeSmart article collection, which was written by Reena Mukamal and reviewed by Rebecca Taylor, MD. Read the full article at AAO.org.