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3 Health Conditions That Can Be Detected During a Routine Eye Exam

Many conditions cause symptoms throughout the body - some show up in the skin, mouth and even fingernails . Your eyes reveal a particularly large percentage of health issues.

Yearly eye exams are an important and easy way to protect your eyes and overall health. A routine visit to your eye doctor helps to make sure that your eyes are healthy and keeps your perscription current. These appointments are also important because your optometrist can detect signs of serious health conditions such as diabetes, a brain tumor, and even high cholesterol.

Through a comprehensive eye exam, our qualified eye doctors are able to evaluate your health condition and recommend any necessary treatment to ensure the longevity of your vision and overall well-being.


3 Things Eye Doctors Can Detect During a Routine Eye Exam

Your eyes hold clues to your overall health and can even help diagnose certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes, catching potential problems early on.

Here are 3 important health conditions that your eyes can signal through your yearly eye exam:

  1. Diabetes

The most common cause of blindness in North America in patients aged 20-65 is diabetic retinopathy, a condition caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Diabetes can also increase your risk of glaucoma and other serious eye conditions.

What the eye doctor sees: Damage to tiny blood vessels in the retina due to chronic high blood sugar levels. Additionally, patients may have swelling in and around the macula - the part of the retina associated with central vision.

What the patient experiences: In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, a patient may experience no symptoms or they may have blurry vision that comes and goes.

Why it’s important to schedule regular eye exams: Diabetic retinopathy can only be diagnosed through a dilated eye exam and failing to annually visit your eye doctor means you could miss an opportunity to have diabetes identified and diagnosed sooner rather than later.

Learn More: Calgary Diabetic Retinal Examinations

  1. Stroke

A stroke is the sudden loss of brain function caused by an interruption of blood flow due to either a clot (ischemic stroke) or the rupture of blood vessels.

What the eye doctor sees: During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor may be able to detect blood vessels blockages in the back of the eye, which pose a high stroke risk.

What the patient experiences: A sudden, painless loss or partial loss of vision in one eye that may last for several minutes or hours.

Why it’s important to schedule regular eye exams: Especially for patients who are older, a regular eye exam can help detect a stroke before it happens. Your eye doctor can then send you for appropriate testing and systemic management, recommending lifestyle changes to ensure your well-being.

  1. High Blood Pressure

Also known as hypertension, this condition puts extra strain on the vascular system. If left unchecked, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke, among other systemic ailments.

What the eye doctor sees: During an eye exam, your optometrist may look for changes within the blood vessels at the back of the eye such as leakages or hemorrhages as well as any alterations in the appearance of the vessels.

What the patient experiences: There are seldom any symptoms of hypertension. In extreme cases, a patient may experience a sudden loss or blurring of vision caused by a sudden spike in blood pressure. If this is the case, it is important to seek emergency eye treatment as soon as possible.

Why it’s important to schedule regular eye exams: If your eye doctor discovers symptoms of hypertension, they can refer you to your family doctor who will help make lifestyle changes and take the appropriate steps to prevent future heart disease.

Learn More: How To Deal With Eye Emergencies

Watch Out For These:

It is important to always be aware of any changes that are occurring in the vision and appearance of your eyes.

Keep an eye out for these additional symptoms and be sure to contact your eye doctor if you have any concerns.


  • Bulging Eyes: These could be a sign of thyroid disease and is often associated with a swelling in the muscles and tissue of the eye.
  • Abnormal Pupils: Any changes or abnormalities in your pupils (different sized pupils, inappropriate reaction to light exposure) could signal an underlying medical problem.
  • Chronic Dry Eye: Often times when patients come to the eye doctor complaining of dry or burning eyes, it’s an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Other symptoms include dry mouth and chronic joint pain.

Learn More

To learn more about our eye emergency services or how our eye doctors can help protect your health, contact our Calgary eye clinic today at 403-286-4884.


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