(StatePoint) Did you know that everyone needs a regular eye exam—even someone who doesn’t wear glasses?
Most people assume an annual eye exam only checks a lens prescription, but your eye doctor is also checking to make sure your eyes are healthy. The eyes are the only unobstructed, non-invasive view of blood vessels in the body, and they can tell a lot about your overall health.
Through comprehensive eye exams, eye doctors can see eye conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration, as well as signs of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Eye doctors can even identify signs of diabetes up to seven years before a patient would typically show symptoms and be diagnosed by a primary care physician. People are three times more likely to get an eye exam than a routine physical, so eye exams are a great way to identify the early warning signs of many diseases.
“With healthcare costs skyrocketing, it’s more important than ever to diagnose and treat medical conditions as soon as possible—before they become a true burden on a patient’s body and wallet,” says Jonathan Stein, O.D., a VSP Vision Care provider in Manhattan Beach, Calif. “And with diseases as prevalent as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, regular eye exams become a critical part of managing a patient’s overall health.”
One condition an eye doctor checks for during a comprehensive eye exam is diabetic retinopathy. The condition is marked by damage to the blood vessels in the retina and can lead to blindness if not treated early. However, with annual eye examinations and proper follow-up care, 90 percent of all diabetes-related blindness can be prevented.
High cholesterol is another condition eye doctors can detect by looking for waxy, yellowish buildup in the blood vessels of the eyes. In fact, 65 percent of time, eyecare providers detect high cholesterol before any other provider, according to a recent study commissioned by VSP Vision Care, the nation’s largest not-for-profit vision benefits company.
By getting annual comprehensive eye exams, families and individuals alike can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on medical costs. Proper preventive care can help avoid costly medical procedures in the future. Even more money can be saved by avoiding medical supplies and medications, time off work and potentially higher-risk insurance premiums for advanced chronic conditions.
For more information on the benefit of eye exams and their role in overall health, visit www.seemuchmore.com.
Remember, scheduling eye exams is a relatively easy way to protect your family’s vision and health.
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