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Shocking Diseases That Eye Care Professionals Find First!

Blood pressure? Check. Weight? Check. Pee in a cup? Check. Seeing an eye doctor regularly? You need to today!

Patients may be caught off guard if their doctor asks the last question during an annual checkup. Here’s why we inquire. 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. This makes a routine eye exam very useful for detecting important medical issues at their earliest stages.

Multiple sclerosis

Optic neuritis—inflammation of the optic nerve—can be a harbinger of MS, a degenerative disease of the nervous system. Optic neuritis occurs in 75 percent of patients with MS and is the first symptom of the disease in up to 25 percent of cases. (A diagnosis of optic neuritis doesn’t automatically mean you have MS; it could also be the result of an infection or other causes.) Patients with optic neuritis often have blurred vision, but diagnosis in some people show no symptoms at all. These early symptoms of multiple sclerosis are often silent.

High blood pressure

Blood vessel damage, including weakening and narrowing of the arteries, can signal high blood pressure, Multiple large-scale studies have found links between heart disease and narrowing of small blood vessels in the retina, according to a paper in the American Journal of Medicine. These connections are particularly strong in people without traditional heart disease risk factors.


One of the first clues for type 2 diabetes may be a small amount of bleeding in the retina, which is a symptom of diabetic retinopathy. Left untreated, the condition can lead to blindness, but managing it cuts this risk in half. When diabetic retinopathy is detected early, lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and losing weight can help prevent further damage. It's easy for people to miss these silent symptoms of diabetes.


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. 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. These are common cancer symptoms women are likely to ignore and these are cancer signs men can easily overlook.

Rheumatoid arthritis

About 25 percent of RA patients have eye issues; dry eye is the most common. Another clue: If a patient has two bouts of iritis—painful inflammation of the iris, or the colored part—in a year, or three in 18 months, we suspect rheumatoid arthritis. People with RA, an inflammatory disease that affects small joints in the hands and feet, have high levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood. Sometimes these can migrate to the eyeball as well as to the joints.

Eye Eating Parasites

River Blindness and Acanthamoeba keratitis and Roundworm Baylisascaris... Oh My! There are so many parasites that can cause severe ocular damage and blindness, some of these can be picked up from just going to the beach or a river lime! getting regular eye exams can detect these intruders and can save your vision.

By no means is an eye exam a replacement for a yearly doctors appointment, however, it shows you that Eye Exams are not just about your vision, but about your eye and general health.

Next time someone says... "just get your eyes tested online" think again! Come see us today at North Shore Optical and save your vision!


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