How an Eye Exam Can Save Your Life

Man receiving eye examination

If you’ve ever visited an eye doctor, you’re aware of the tests and procedures used to examine your eyes. But did you know that some of these exams can possibly save your life?

Many eye and vision problems have no signs or symptoms, so you may not realize your deteriorating vision is linked to something more serious, ophthalmologist Douglas Rhee, MD says.

“Many eye and brain disorders have no warning signs,” he says. “In that sense, it’s like high blood pressure, which often doesn’t have obvious symptoms. But if high blood pressure is left untreated, it might make you susceptible to health problems, such as a stroke or heart attack.”

Vision and Age

Visual impairments are on the rise primarily because of the increase in the number of Americans turning 65 and older each year, Dr. Rhee says. With the maturing of Americans, the likelihood of developing eye conditions multiplies.

However, sometimes vision problems can be caused by a neurological problem, such as a brain tumor. A brain tumor’s symptoms might include blurred vision, double vision or loss of peripheral vision, causing you to think the problem is with your eyes. 

If your doctor suspects a problem with your central and/or peripheral vision, you’ll probably undergo a visual field test, which can help detect other health conditions, such as:

  • Brain tumors
  • Various diseases of the optic nerve
  • Strokes which affect the occipital lobe in the brain

“That's why it’s important to see your eye doctor regularly,” Dr. Rhee says. “It’s part of your preventative care, and will help to ensure you’re taking good care of yourself and your eyes.”

Related Links

UH Eye Institute
UH Neurological Institute
Read about a patient whose eye exam revealed a brain tumor

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