Written by True Eye Experts
The eyes aren’t just your windows to the world; to experienced eye doctors, they can also offer a view into your overall health. At True Eye Experts, our optometrists don’t only examine your eyes for disease, they keep a careful watch for signs of other health problems, including those that can affect your heart.
In the interest of heart health, great vision, and total body wellness, our team at True Eye Experts wanted to share some information about how an annual eye exam can actually be good for your heart.
An annual eye exam is one of the only opportunities for a doctor to actually see vital internal blood vessels and tissue without performing a biopsy or making any type of incision. A well-qualified eye doctor can determine many things about the quality of blood flow, circulation, and blood vessel health during an annual comprehensive exam.
Because we can easily evaluate the blood vessels of your eyes, we’re able to determine if your vessels are showing any signs of disease. If we happen upon a sign of vascular disease in your eyes, it may be an indicator that there’s an issue with your heart, brain, internal organs, or extremities.
Let’s explore some of the different types of health conditions that we can screen for during your eye exam:
An eye doctor can tell many things about your cardiovascular system with a simple look in your eyes. One common condition that can be seen through the eyes is high blood pressure.
We recently used our V-Eye-P exam to detect a case of high blood pressure in a patient who was visiting us for their annual exam and new reading glasses. During the exam, we took comprehensive pictures of the patient’s eye and noticed something interesting. The conversation went something like this:
Doctor: “I’m noticing irregularities with some blood vessels in your retina. Do you take prescription medication for high blood pressure or hypertension?”
Patient: “No, I don’t.”
Doctor: “Should you be?”
Patient: “Well… yes, my doctor prescribed it to me, but I didn’t want to take it. I wasn’t convinced I actually needed it. Are you telling me you can tell that from looking at my eye for 5 seconds when I never mentioned any of that to you or your technicians?!”
Doctor: “It’s probably nothing to worry about as long as you start taking the medication you were prescribed. What concerns me are these vessels here that I’m pointing to on my screen. We’ll send these images, along with your exam notes to your primary care doctor.
Untreated and unaddressed high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. 76 million adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, but approximately one in five don’t know about their condition. Luckily, high blood pressure can be detected early during your routine eye exam.
Many of those with diabetes can attest that their endocrinologist and primary care provider are always reminding them to schedule an annual eye exam. That’s because eye exams can give great insight into complications with the disease.
“In some cases, diabetes causes the blood in our body to become thick like syrup, making it difficult to circulate blood to the parts of the body farthest from our hearts,” said Dr. Samuel J. Teske, our TPA/DPA Certified Optometric Physician.
“Fortunately, our view of the eyes gives us a clear image of arteries, veins, and capillaries,” Dr. Teske said. “Using advanced technology, we can monitor and diagnose many potentially serious complications caused by diabetes, including heart problems.”
Eye doctors carefully evaluate those with diabetes for signs of diabetic retinopathy. This is when blood vessels in the retina are damaged by high blood glucose levels. If untreated, these blood vessels can become inflamed or even burst, leading to blindness.
Many diabetics may have diabetic retinopathy and not even know it, because it often displays no symptoms in its early stages. As diabetic retinopathy gets worse, you may notice symptoms such as:
We can also detect high cholesterol in an eye exam. Because we can examine vessels in the eye, eye doctors can see very clearly if there are fatty cholesterol deposits present in the eye’s veins and arteries.
If present in the eye, these cholesterol deposits can also be present in the brain and other internal organs. Blockages from cholesterol can put you at risk for a stroke, heart attack, and more serious problems.
High cholesterol levels can also be determined by examining the cornea, the outer part of the eye. Eye doctors will check for a white or grey ring around the iris using a biomicroscope. These deposits, called an arcus, can indicate high cholesterol.
Cholesterol deposits can also be seen as yellow fatty growths on and around the eyelids. Many cholesterol deposits found on the external parts of the eye are age-related and simply need to be monitored annually, but they can also be the sign of a greater problem.
At True Eye Experts, we want you to live life with a clear vision and healthy eyes — but we’re also here to ensure that you can take care of other vital body systems, including the heart and blood vessels. An annual eye exam with an optometrist who is outfitted with the latest technology can not only help you experience life with a clear vision but can also help make sure that you’re healthy overall.
To schedule an eye appointment to learn more about your vision and overall wellness, request an appointment today.
Our mission at True Eye Experts is simple — provide the best possible care to our patients. We make sure we’re doing this a few different ways. Our V-Eye-P Exam is one of the most comprehensive eye exams in the industry. We use state-of-the-art medical technology to screen, diagnose, and treat more conditions than most other providers in the area. We have an extensive collection of designer eyewear that can complement any patient’s face, style, and budget, and our advanced contact lens fitting process can help even “hard-to-fit” patients wear contacts comfortably. Book an appointment online at one of our True Eye Experts locations, conveniently located throughout Central Florida. Have questions or prefer to book over the phone? Give us a call today.
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"I have been getting my eyes checked by Dr. Samuel Teske for years. He is very thorough and thoughtful. The staff is also very professional and attentive. Highly recommend True Eye Experts!"
Everyone at this office is very friendly, helpful, and professional, whether it's helping you buy new frames, being fitted for glasses, or just interacting at the front desk. If something is wrong with my glasses, they are quick to remedy the situation. I would highly recommend this office for all your eye care needs!"
"Dr. Randich is personable and thorough. She spends time educating her patients with warmth and genuine concern. Staff is always friendly, helpful, and quick!"
"Staff was very professional, and the eye exam used the latest technologies. Very impressed with all that was done to check my eyes. Great experience!"
I had an emergency and needed to be seen as soon as possible. They fit me in right away and got my injury addressed and on the road to recovery! The staff is so professional and caring! Everyone had a smile on their faces & was welcoming. Thank you so very much for everything! – Kristen L.