What Routine Eye Exams Can Tell You About Your Health

Posted on: 4 August 2017

As someone who doesn't ever wear eyeglasses to see, you can find it exceedingly easy to walk past the offices of eye doctors in your town. The thought that one day you could need reading glasses may not be enough for you to schedule your appointment, but that's not the only reason you should pop into a doctor's office. Eyestrain and dry eyes could also be handled there, but more importantly, a simple exam could reveal health conditions and problems that you don't already know about. Here are six health issues an eye doctor could see and tell you about.


When someone has diabetes, there are abnormal levels of glucose (sugar) in their blood vessels. Over time, the extra glucose can damage many blood vessels throughout the body, including the eye. However, you can have the disease for a while without realizing it. During routine eye exams, your doctor is going to be able to clearly see any eye damage that would indicate diabetes, including blood near the rear of the eye from ruptured vessels. They could also see yellow fluid, indicating some of the vessels are compromised. If this happens, your optician will recommend you visit your primary care doctor.

High Cholesterol

Even if you already know that you need to improve your diet, you could think that your cholesterol levels are under control, particularly if you have not had blood work lately. However, during routine eye tests, your doctor can observe high cholesterol symptoms in your eyes. For example, there could be a single yellow ring around your eye's cornea that could mean cholesterol levels are too high.

Thyroid Problems

If your eyes have always bulged slightly, you may not have connected that in your mind to any internal body problems. However, sometimes bulging eyes can indicate Graves disease, a clear sign of thyroid problems. A smart eye doctor will notice whether your eyes are consistent with this condition during your initial exam.


Surprisingly, routine eye exams could provide evidence that you have cancer. An eye doctor could notice optic nerve swelling and changes in your vision that would be consistent with a tumor and cancer. As with the other health conditions here, your doctor will tell you if they notice something unusual that needs to be seen by another physician.

With this new understanding of how routine eye exams can protect more than your eyes, it's time to make an appointment with a local eye doctor, such as Northwest Ophthalmology. They can describe your ocular health and possibly alert you to other health issues that should be addressed.