The eyes may be the window to the soul, but eye exams can offer insight into a person's overall health. In this edition of Wellness, YNN's Jill Urban explains the importance of eye health.
"During an eye exam I look at blood vessels in the back of the eye and the state of those blood vessel,s and what they look like tell me what the blood vessels are doing in other organs of the body like the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver," explained Dr. Robert Cykiert.
Dr. Cykiert said your eye doctor may be the one to discover a serious problem before symptoms arise. For example, six years ago, Gloria Lapin went in for a routine eye exam. She was quickly rushed to the emergency room with a life threatening issue.
"The doctor discovered flaking from my corroded artery which were circulating in areas dangerously close to the brain which might cause a stroke," recalled Lapin. "He recommended we go immediately to the hospital. We did so and surgery was done the following day and was highly successful."
During an eye exam, Dr. Cykiert suspected another patient had a tumor on his brain. The doctor was right, and now the patient is undergoing treatment.
"My life has been saved. If I didn’t go through this diagnosis, I might not be here right now," said the patient.
Dr. Cykiert said tumors and strokes are just a few of the things that can be detected during an eye exam.
"There are many diseases and conditions that can be picked up from an eye exam. For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. Occasionally, I can pick up brain tumors, leukemia. I have picked up infections in the blood, all from an eye exam," noted Dr. Cykiert.
Many people only visit an eye doctor when they notice a change in their vision. However, Dr. Cykiert suggests having your eyes checked every other year when you're younger than 40. If you are older than 40, he suggests an annual eye exam.
So if you haven’t been for an exam, now may be a good time to schedule one.