What Can an Eye Exam Reveal about My Health?

Eye Exam
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An eye exam can uncover health problems.

Eyes are truly remarkable.

How they work to provide us the ability to see and experience life in color is truly amazing.

They are also important in emotional expression and connection.

This is reflected in the phrase “the eyes are the windows to the soul.”

According to a recent AARP article title “7 Health Problems That Can Be Detected Through an Eye Exam,” the eyes also may be a window to your health.

A eye exam can point out health issues.
An eye exam can serve as preventative medicine.

In your annual eye exam, your eye doctor sees more than whether you need a new lens prescription.

Your eye doctor can recognizes symptoms of possible disorders, illnesses, or other health issues.

What might your eye exam uncover?

High blood pressure.

If your eye is bleeding, it may be simply from a hard sneeze or cough.

While this explanation is harmless, this symptom can indicate something more serious like high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can cause tiny blood vessels in the white of the eye to break and leach blood.

It can also cause the eye itself to swell.

If someone has had hypertension for a long time, the eye may bulge as the retinas stiffen.

Heart disease.

If a eye exam shows plaque deposits in the eye, these may have broken from buildup in the carotid artery.

The carotid artery supplies blood to the brain.

When the plaque breaks off and reaches the brain, it can lead to a stroke in the patient.


Diabetes can negatively affect your vision.

Often, if it gets severe, you can even go blind.

Even with good vision, an eye exam may find indications of diabetes through fluffy white patches on the retina.

These do not necessarily mean you have the disease, but they can be indicators for diabetes.

Rheumatoid arthritis.

If your sclera is inflamed during your eye exam, this may be an indication of rheumatoid arthritis.

This disease impacts connective tissue like collagen.

Because the sclera is made primarily of collagen, rheumatoid arthritis may impact it.

Thyroid disorder.

Hyperthyroidism can cause the eyeballs to protrude and the lids to retract.

During the eye exam, your eye doctor may measure the protrusion with an exophthalmometer.

Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease has no conclusive test.

However, one can identify ocular tremors using eye-tracking technology.

Ocular tremors can be found in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.


The eyelid is sensitive to skin cancer and can often be found on the lower lid.

Although not common, melanoma may be seen through a microscope near the iris in the eye.

Follow up appointments and tests are required, but an eye exam may provide the first look at several diseases.

Reference: AARP (April 8, 2021) “7 Health Problems That Can Be Detected Through an Eye Exam”

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