Health Conditions That May Be Detected During An Adult Eye Exam

Health Conditions That May Be Detected During An Adult Eye Exam

The whole body is connected, and problems in one area can cause symptoms somewhere else. Eye exams are an important part of maintaining eye health, but they also benefit your overall health. With regular adult eye exams, your optometrist can see into your eyes and search for abnormalities that indicate dangerous underlying health conditions. The earlier these conditions are detected, the greater the chance that they can be managed, helping you avoid invasive, complex treatments, and increasing your quality of life. Here are some health conditions that your optometrist looks for during an eye exam.

Adult Eye Exams Can Detect Signs Of These Conditions

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. When blood sugar levels are too high for too long, it causes damage to the delicate blood vessels in the eye and it can lead to the development of abnormal blood vessels. These blood vessels are prone to leaking. If your optometrist discovers abnormal blood vessels or intraocular bleeding, they will recommend you get blood work done through your family doctor to determine if you have high blood sugar levels that are causing diabetic retinopathy. Once you know the cause of your retinopathy, your optometrist can help you develop a diabetes management plan.

High Blood Pressure
Diabetes isn’t the only cause of retinopathy. If there are abnormal or leaking blood vessels in your eyes, it can also be caused by hypertensive retinopathy, which is triggered by high blood pressure damaging the veins in the eyes. Prolonged high blood pressure damages the thin and delicate blood vessels of your eye. If your optometrist sees any abnormal blood vessels or intraocular bleeding, they likely will not be able to tell if it is caused by undiagnosed diabetes or undiagnosed high blood pressure and they will need you to return to the optometry clinic after consulting with your doctor. Learn more about this condition by reading How Eye Exams Can Detect High Blood Pressure.

Heart Disease
Adult eye exams can detect heart issues beyond high blood pressure. Plaque deposits in your eye are a sign of buildup in the carotid arteries, which are the major arteries that supply blood to the neck, brain, and face. If these arteries become clogged with plaque, it can lead to a stroke. If your optometrist discovers plaque deposits in your eye, they will likely refer you to a specialist or recommend blood work and other tests from your family doctor.

Most parts of your body can develop cancer, including your eyes. Although eye concerns such as retinoblastoma are not very common in adults, skin cancer on the eyelids is much more likely to be an issue. Many people don’t think to put sunscreen on their eyelids even though this skin is very thin and more delicate than skin in other areas, which puts your eyelid skin at risk of developing cancer from sun exposure. If your optometrist discovers skin cancer on your eyelids during an adult eye exam, this condition can be addressed early to prevent cancer from spreading.

Thyroid Disorder
Thyroid disorders are caused by the over or under-production of hormones in the thyroid and it can affect your heart rate, mood, energy level, bone health, and even pregnancy. Two signs of thyroid disorder are protruding eyeballs and retracting eyelids, which an optometrist can detect during an adult eye exam.

Parkinson’s Disease
This brain disorder causes uncontrollable movement. Although this is often noticed through hand tremors and a lack of balance and coordination, earlier signs can be detected during an adult eye exam. In the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, eye tremors may develop. This is one of the earliest symptoms and one of the first signs of the development of this condition.

Multiple Sclerosis
Commonly referred to as MS, this condition is an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy nerves, damaging the nervous system. The optic nerve at the back of the eye is a bundle of nerves that your optometrist can view during an adult eye exam. If the optic nerve shows damage through optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve), it can be an indication of nerve damage happening throughout the body.

Stay Healthy With Adult Eye Exams In Calgary

Eye exams protect more than just your eye health and vision. Regular adult eye exams are a vital part of caring for your overall health and your optometrist can work with other health professionals, such as your family doctor, to ensure you get the treatment you need to stay healthy. To schedule an adult eye exam, contact the optometrists and staff at Specs In The City. Our team will make sure your vision is optimal and that any eye or general health conditions are diagnosed so that a personalized management plan can be created. To schedule an adult eye exam, call Specs In The City at 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: Is there anything I need to bring to an eye exam?
A: Once you’ve booked your appointment there are a few things you can bring to better help us ensure your eye care needs are met. They are:

  • All prescription glasses, sunglasses, or contact lenses you’re currently using
  • All eye drops you’re currently using
  • The medications or supplements you’re currently on
  • A detailed family history of serious medical conditions
  • Details surrounding your vision insurance or work benefits
  • Medical records surrounding any eye surgeries or injuries you’ve had

Q: Does Alberta Health cover eye exams?
A: The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) provides coverage for annual eye exams if you are between the ages of 0-18, or over 65. The provincial plan can also be used in times of emergency should you require an immediate appointment with an eye doctor. For those who are interested in booking an eye exam and who are between the ages of 19 and 64, Specs in the City is proud to offer affordable eye exams. Contact us to learn more.

Q: When should I go to the optometrist?
A: Eye exams should start at 6 months old, with another eye exam at 3 years old and another at 5 years old. After this, eye exams should be annual until age 18. Between ages 19 and 64, eye exams should be conducted every year or two, depending on any eye conditions you may have. Once you reach age 65, eye exams should once again be annual.

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