More Than Meets the Eye

Conversations with your eye doctor can reveal general health concerns

When we visit the eye doctor we expect to sit through several highly controlled physical exams. We read the letters off the chart on the wall with one eye open and one eye closed. We sit patiently through the one with the little puff of air, but how prepared are you for the candid conversation with your eye care professional about the current state of your ocular health? This conversation can actually reveal health concerns that go unnoticed during the physical components of your exam.

Your eye health can actually provide important clues to your general health and may reveal chronic health conditions years before other outward symptoms arise. In a recent survey 45% of respondents reported that or say they don’t openly discuss their health concerns with their eye doctor because they don’t feel it’s an issue or assume it’s a natural consequence of aging.

Schedule your eye exam

It is recommended that individuals visit their eye care professional at least once every two years, or once a year for patients over the age of 65. Despite this recommendation, It is estimated that 20% or more Americans miss their bi-annual eye exam. Scheduling and attending these appointments is important for identifying symptoms of progressive eye diseases.  Early diagnosis, and beginning treatment can mean all the difference.

Discuss all of your symptoms

Even if an issue seems like “it’s not big deal” it’s worth discussing with your eye care professional. Issues like blurred vision, itchy eyes, excessively watering eyes, eye inflammation or redness. Your doctor will help you establish what is normal and what could indicate the early onset of a condition like chronic dry eye disease.

Prepare for your exam in advance

Once you’ve scheduled your an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist, begin to prepare by taking note of any eye health symptoms. Note if your eyes feel excessively dry, when and under what conditions. By having a comprehensive understanding of your current eye health before visiting your doctor you will be able to have a more fruitful conversation about any potential general health concerns.