Five unexpected health issues that an eye test can catch

Sponsored content: An eye test can tell us much more about your health, than just whether you need glasses or not.

Eye tests are important for everyone, whether you wear glasses or not, and a simple eye test can detect a number of serious health conditions. Further investigation by a GP or specialist is necessary to confirm the diagnosis and determine appropriate treatment.

Here are five health conditions that can show up in an eye test.

1. Diabetic eye disease

Research indicates that three quarters of adults are unaware that optometrists can check for signs of wider health conditions, including diabetes*.

Diabetic eye disease or diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels at the back of the eye are damaged, causing vision loss.

Early stages of diabetic retinopathy does not usually cause any noticeable symptoms so you may not even know you have it.

An eye test can detect the condition before you notice any changes to your vision.

2. High blood pressure

Patients may be informed that they have high blood pressure as a result of observations made by their optometrist during a routine eye test. 

When examining the retina, an optometrist can see whether blood vessels are narrowed or are leaking, which can be signs of high blood pressure.

3. Cardiovascular disease

High cholesterol, which can lead to heart problems or a stroke, doesn’t usually have any symptoms. It can cause blockages in any of the body's blood vessels and when it occurs in the eyes it can be picked up during an eye exam.

4. Arthritis

Autoimmune forms of the arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, can cause inflammation in your eyes in addition to joint inflammation.  

Inflammation of the eyes can be identified during your eye exam.

5. Ocular tumours

Eye tests can detect cancers of the eye such as melanomas and identify signs of brain tumours.


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*Galaxy Research, 2017. Commissioned by Specsavers.