Health Risks That Can Be Identified Through Comprehensive Eye Exams

Do you remember the last time you went to the eye clinic for a comprehensive eye exam? If you don’t or it has been a few years, then you are well overdue for one and need to contact your local eye clinic to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The American Optometric Association reports that adults should have an eye exam every two years. If you are at risk for particular eye conditions, then you should undergo eye examinations more frequently.

During an eye exam, your eyesight will be tested using a refraction eye exam, though several other tests will be used to help identify the presence (or lack) of certain health conditions. Believe it or not, there are numerous health risks that an eye doctor has the capability of identifying during your eye exam. Here are almost a dozen of them.


Right now, diabetes impacts roughly 10 percent of the American population. Unfortunately, a large portion of the population have no idea that they have diabetes, which can lead to a number of complications. All it takes is an eye doctor taking a look at your eyes during a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you have the disease. Individuals with diabetes tend to have diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition that can cause damage to the blood vessels within the retina.

There a number of times when people find out that they have diabetes from an eye exam at the eye clinic. If your optometrist believes you have signs of diabetic retinopathy, it is important to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible.

High Blood Pressure

Roughly 33 percent of the American adult population have high blood pressure, and if this is left untreated, individuals can suffer heart attacks, strokes, etc. As an optometrist examines your eyes, he or she may be able to detect if you have high blood pressure. This is because this condition tends to cause issues with the blood vessels in your eyes. If you have blood pressure issues, it is important that you control it due to the fact it can result in so many health and eye problems. For instance, high blood pressure can lead to glaucoma.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is another condition that can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam. Individuals with this type of condition often have a yellow or blue ring around their cornea. In some cases, there may be some deposits left behind the blood vessels inside the retina that are indicative of high levels of cholesterol. It may even be possible for an eye doctor to tell if you are about to have a cholesterol-laden stroke by examining your eyes.


Although the rate of cancer has been on a steady decline as of late, it is still something that affects a large part of the American population year after year. There are a number of cancers that are unable to be detected via a comprehensive eye exam, but there are many that can, including tissue, skin, and blood cancer. Each of these cancers tend to exhibit certain signs that can be detected during a thorough eye examination. If nothing else, your eye doctor should be able to let you know whether you should schedule an appointment with your general physician regarding the risk of cancer.

Multiple Sclerosis

With not even half a million people in the United States suffering from it, multiple sclerosis is a pretty rare disease. However, it is a crippling disease of the neurological system. Believe it or not, an eye doctor could be one of the first to be able to notice the signs of the disease taking over the body, as individuals with this disorder will experience inflammation of the optic nerves. This inflammation can result in blurry and double vision, making it difficult to lead a normal, daily life. When you experience these signs, it is important to not ignore them, as it may not be just a standard eye issue.

Thyroid Disease

Compared to many other parts of the body, the thyroid gland is pretty small. However, despite its size, it plays an important role in your metabolism as well as your growth overall. In addition, it can create issues for you if it is not producing hormones properly. Individuals who have hyperthyroidism and similar conditions will often have protruding eyeballs, retracting eyelids, and other signs that are indicative of thyroid disease. If your eye doctor informs you that you may have a thyroid issue, you will want to speak to your primary doctor immediately to manage the issue.


Do you experience dry eyes a lot of the time? If so, you may have a condition known as dry eyes. However, you may also have lupus, which is an inflammatory disease. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that results in your body attacking healthy issues. An eye doctor may notice that the white part of your eyes is swelling, which is a cause for concern and a sign of lupus. Your eye doctor will refer you to your primary care physician if he or she notices the signs of lupus during your comprehensive eye examination.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is one of the more painful types of arthritis. Similar to lupus, it attacks the healthy tissues in the body, especially those around the joints. One area where you may feel a lot of pain is in the eyes, which is shocking to many people. The redness in the eyes is a sign to eye doctors that you may have this condition. Another sign is inflammation of the white parts of your eyes. Medical therapy can be used to manage the pain, but you will need to visit with your primary care physician to receive an official diagnosis and obtain the necessary treatment.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is something that many people can live with and not know about for some time. Some people can go years without ever realizing they have Lyme disease. In fact, Justin Bieber is a celebrity who talked about this. By visiting your eye doctor regularly, the presence of this disease can be detected, allowing you to get the treatment that you need so that you do not have to suffer needlessly. Some signs that an eye doctor will notice are inflammation in the optic nerves and floaters in the primary line of vision.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Similar to Lyme disease, some people can live with an STD and not realize that they have it. Some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that can affect the eyes include chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV. Many people will go in for their comprehensive eye exam and learn that they have an STD. While shocked, this revelation actually explains some of the symptoms that they have been experiencing without any apparent reason.

Brain Tumor

When you hear the term “brain tumor,” you probably freak out. However, they aren’t always serious. Roughly 80,000 individuals are diagnosed with brain tumors every year, many of which are non-malignant. Regardless, it is best for a brain tumor to be detected earlier on because it can still cause problems with your brain activity as well as your vision. For example, many people will experience double vision, changes in their pupils, side vision loss, and more. During a comprehensive eye exam, an optometrist will be able to tell you if it is suspected that you have pressure on your eyes from a tumor.

Scheduling Your Comprehensive Eye Exam

These are just a few of the many health issues that can be detected during a comprehensive eye exam, which is why it is so crucial that you have one performed regularly. A series of tests will be performed for an optometrist to look for any signs of problems.

Contact us at Performance Vision to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today, allowing us to take a closer look at your eyes and overall health.