Canadians are beginning the transition from spring to summer, a time of year when life tends to slow down, we begin to relax and spend more time with our families.
With a bit more time on our hands, there is an opportunity for us to take better care of our bodies. One simple step we can all take, is to book a comprehensive eye exam. Many Canadians will only see their doctor of optometry if they begin to notice changes in their vision, such as blurring, difficulty reading, or the nuisance of dry, itchy eyes caused by allergies. The reality is, an eye exam is much more than a simple sight test. Eye exams can help detect many eye diseases before they show symptoms and play an important role in the detection of underlying health conditions.
The amount of information that the structures inside the eye can reveal about your health is astonishing. Comprehensive eye exams provide optometrists a close-up look at your blood vessels, the optic nerve (which connects to the brain), and many other complex structures – all of which contain clues to conditions that could pose a serious risk to your health.
When your doctor of optometry is performing your eye exam, they look for irregularities that can show up in the eyes, sometimes signifying a more serious condition. Ailment’s that can often first be detected by an optometrist include:
- High Blood Pressure– Blood vessels inside the eye may reveal signs that you have, or are at risk of developing, hypertension – a leading cause of heart attack, stroke and chronic heart failure.
- Diabetes – Small, damaged blood vessels in the eye can be one of the first signs of diabetes. By identify this condition early, you can reduce your risk of vision loss and minimize complications such as heart disease and kidney failure.
- Brain Tumours – During an eye exam, optometrists can uncover unusual structures or growths in or around the eye that could be cancerous. Loss of peripheral vision and changes to your optic nerves may also be signs of a brain tumour.
Think of an eye exam as a physical for your eyes. By detecting conditions before other physical effects are noticed, optometrists are able to work closely with other primary health care providers to ensure conditions are dealt with quickly, improving health outcomes.
Given the potential of an eye exam to protect, not just your vision, but your overall health, routine exams are recommended for people of all ages. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommend adults have an eye exam every two years, and annually for those over 65. Children should have their first exam between six and nine months, their second eye exam between the ages of two and five, and annually after starting school.
Make booking an eye exam a priority this summer to ensure your body is in top shape! Find a local doctor of optometry today.
Starting June 20th, you will have the chance to win a summer prize pack valued at $1,000. All you have to do is visit the DOC Facebook page and show us the steps you’re taking to maintain your eye health and overall health this summer.