Your eye exam is about more than just your eye health. When you see an ophthalmologist, he or she gets a glimpse into your health that goes far beyond just your eyes. In fact, they use your eyes a window to see what other health issues are possibly present.
When Should You See an Ophthalmologist?
First, there are the basics. You should definitely go see an eye doctor if you suffer from, or think you're suffering from, any of the following.
- Loss or deterioration of vision
- Problems with moving your eyes
- Distorted vision
- Eye-related pain
These things can all mean any one of a number of eye diseases. You should have an eye examination immediately on experiencing any symptoms. But you shouldn't just wait until there's an issue. You should go in for an eye exam every few years. It's not something that you need to do often, but you do need to do it. Not only is it good for early detection of eye problems, it's good for detecting other things as well.
What Other Issues Can an Ophthalmologist Spot?
So if the ophthalmologist isn't just looking at your eye health, what else is he or she staring at? There are many other things out there that aren't vision-related but can affect your eyes. An ophthalmologist can check for signs of:
Diabetes – An ophthalmologist can see the early signs of diabetes by the damage it causes to your eyes (diabetic retinopathy).
Multiple sclerosis – Yes, the disease that usually requires an MRI for proper detection can show up under an ophthalmologist's examination.
High blood pressure – The ophthalmologist can take note of the telltale signs of high blood pressure by checking the condition of the vessels that feed your retina.
Tumors and cancers – If a cancer or tumor has spread to eyes then an ophthalmologist can detect it.
A lot goes on with your body that becomes mirrored in the eyes in some way. There are even specially trained neuro-ophthalmologists that can detect various neurological disorders.
Always Double Check
Many of the more serious things spotted by an ophthalmologist require further testing. Some eye damage may appear as if it's caused by a specific disease or ailment, but that doesn't always mean that it is. It's up to you to confirm the possibility.
Just remember the ophthalmologist wouldn't tell you unless he or she felt certain of the possibility. If you suspect you have something like high blood pressure or diabetes, you shouldn't see an ophthalmologist as a cheaper way of diagnosing the problem. You should see your physician.