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The Importance of Eye Exams: How Your Eyes Can Reveal Systemic Diseases like Diabetes

diabetes eye exam

Q:  My eye doctor thinks I may have diabetes after looking my eyes.  How could she tell?

A:  Your eyes give us a most unique opportunity to evaluate your overall health.  Examining your eyes involves looking inside your eyes. We actually do this two ways, by directly looking in with some type of instrument or microscope, and using new imaging technology to photograph the inside of eyesThese techniques allow us that unique view of functioning blood vessels inside your body!  Your eyes give us the only non-invasive method to examine blood vessels and blood flow in their natural state.  As a result, we are able to detect warning signs of many “vascular diseases” in other parts of the body!Two prime examples…..and very common here in West Virginia….are diabetes and high blood pressure ( hypertension).  Both of these systemic diseases cause changes in our blood vessels throughout our body, including our eyes   Vascular changes may appear in many forms, and may include actual bleeding or leakage.Many people do not seek routine preventative medical care, but will go have an eye exam.  Consequently, we often are the first medical providers to identify those “ non-eye” diseases. In our clinic this is true for patients who had not yet been diagnosed, and those who had told they were “borderline” diabetic. Honestly, if signs are found in your eye exam of either systemic disorder, treatment is likely in order   In most cases, we refer you to your family physician or PCP for full diagnosis and initiation of treatment. We generally begin seeing those patients more often as well because of increased risk of eyesight loss. So be very glad your eye doctor was thorough enough to detect and diagnose the warning signs. Please follow through with your PCP ( primary care provider ) and keep your eyesight and general health intact

May 15th Post (1)