Life

Eye health: Six conditions that having your vision tested can pick up

It's not just poor vision that an optometrist can find signs of in an eye test

WE ALL know that blurred vision is a sign that you might be in need of a new pair of glasses, but your eyes can also give less obvious clues that something isn't right with your health.

As well as detecting vision problems, an eye test can also reveal whether you're suffering from health conditions; it is recommended that you have your eyes tested at least every two years.

Here are just a few conditions that may be discovered during an eye exam:

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that affect the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. An eye exam can reveal early signs, and early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of vision loss.

High blood pressure

If your blood pressure is raised, this may be apparent when an optometrist examines the blood vessels in the back of your eye. It's important to keep high blood pressure in check, as it's linked with stroke, heart disease and vascular dementia.

Age-related macular degeneration

This eye condition can cause loss of central vision and can be detected by looking for changes to your retina. It doesn't cause total blindness, but it can make everyday activities – like reading and recognising faces – difficult.

Diabetes 

As many as 550,000 people in the UK have undiagnosed diabetes, which can lead to sight loss. High blood-sugar, which is related to diabetes, can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the eye, resulting in diabetic retinopathy – a leading cause of blindness. An optometrist will be able to spot early signs.

Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, which causes issues with vision. They often develop slowly and can affect either one or both eyes. Your optometrist can make sure you are referred for treatment.

Cardiovascular disease

Eye examinations can even give a clue to your heart health, picking up signs of cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This is because the arrangement of blood vessels at the back of the eye, also known as the retina vasculature, is closely connected to the health of your heart.

:: To encourage more people to prioritise their eye health and to help support National Eye Health Week (September 24-30), Specsavers will be offering free eye tests in participating stores throughout September. See specsavers.co.uk

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