Eye Test: Looking at More than Just the Eyes

Having an eye test is a common experience if you are a contact lens wearer or wear glasses but would you consider having an eye test even if you have perfect vision? If the answer is no, then It may come as a surprise to learn that having an eye test could actually save your life. There is a well-known proverb that says that the eyes are the window to your soul, but in reality they are a window to your body for doctors and eye care professionals.

Eye Examination

Eye Examination (Photo credit: Richardzinho)

This is because the eyes are the only part of the body where it is possible to see blood vessels, arteries and nerves without invasive surgery. There are all kinds of common and rare diseases, not necessarily relating to the eyes, which can be detected by having a simple eye test, so giving up the short amount of time that it takes to have a test could prove to be a decision you won’t regret. Some of the most common diseases that can be spotted with an eye test include the following:

Glaucoma is not a single disease but is the name given to a range of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. It is also called the ‘silent thief of sight’ because the disease sometimes develops gradually without symptoms so when patients do finally notice a problem the disease is already advanced. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness after cataracts.

Cataracts are a common age-related eye condition where the lens of the eye loses its clarity and becomes cloudy. The development of cataracts is usually a slow process and is treated by surgery where the lens is taken out and replaced with an artificial lens.

Age-related macular degeneration is another eye condition that is related to ageing and is most common in people over the age of 65. The disease does not lead to blindness but affects central vision, so a person may experience blurring or a blind spot when looking straight ahead.

Diabetes can be detected through an eye test, especially as problems with vision can be one of the symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels and causes damage to nerves and blood vessels. It is a disease that affects millions of people around the world and is becoming an increasing problem. According to the WHO, deaths from diabetes will increase by two thirds in the period from 2008 to 2030.

High blood pressure, known as the ‘silent killer’ because it does not always have symptoms, is very serious and can lead to strokes and heart attacks, among other problems. An eye test can detect, for example, whether there has been damage to the small blood vessels in the eye as a result of high blood pressure.

Less Common Diseases

The above are just the most common types of diseases that can be detected with an eye test. There are some diseases that are fortunately much rarer that can also be detected with an eye test and these include some eye cancers, brain tumours and thyroid problems. An average eye test lasts about 20 minutes, so this could be the best 20 minutes you ever spent.

Bio

Written by Oliver, a regular blogger and writer on eye-related and contact lens matters for http://www.lensprices.co.uk/

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