Eye exams could not only save your vision, but potentially save your life

(WZAW) -- They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but the truth is, your eyes are the windows to your overall health. That’s why comprehensive eye exams are crucial. Not only do they detect early signs of vision problems and vision loss, like glaucoma, they can also detect more than 270 serious health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases and cancers.

March is Save your Vision month. The American Optometric Association is reminding everyone why that annual exam is so important along with your other yearly check-ups.

Eye health and vision problems may develop without any obvious signs or symptoms. In- person, annual eye exams with doctors of optometry can detect early signs of visual system diseases and critical indicators of other health issues.

On Wednesday, AOA President, Barbara L. Horn shared details on the “Start with Eye” movement, and explained what types of questions patients should be asking their eye doctors.

She said comprehensive eye exams are different than vision screenings.

“Vision screening might check your distance vision, or how you can see far away, but it’s not going to tell you how your eyes are working together and how you’re focusing up close, or what vison prescription you might need up close,” Horn explained.

She said it’s critical to have the exam done annually, adding that the eye is the only part on the human body where you can directly see blood vessels.

“So when you look in someone’s eye and they have bleeding or swelling, you can tell if they have diabetes or hypertension or certain cancers. So if it’s happening in the eye, it’s likely happening in the rest of the body.”

Horn said the sooner you get treatment, the healthier you are.

“You don’t want to delay treatment for diseases that affect the entire body,” she said.