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How Eye Exams Help Heart Disease Detection

August 01, 2018
Having your eyesight checked isn't the only reason you should get a regular eye exam. The eyes also reveal important information about your heart health. During the exam, the ophthalmologist will look for important clues about your blood pressure and cholesterol while examining your blood vessels, veins, arteries, and cornea.
Your Eyes Can Reveal a Silent Killer

Nearly half of Americans suffer from high blood pressure, but many don't know they have it, giving it the nickname the "silent killer." If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can be a significant contributing factor to a stroke, heart attack, or other health problems, says the American Heart Association. An eye exam can alert you that you have this otherwise symptom-less condition.

Blood vessels play an important role in your vision by bringing oxygen to the retinas. Eye doctors get a unique look into what may be happening in other parts of your body when they look at your blood vessels. If you're suffering from high blood pressure, these vessels might exhibit bends, tears, or other unusual abnormalities.

Corneas, Cholesterol and Your Heart

High blood pressure isn't the only condition your eyes can reveal. They can also tell your doctor if you have high cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease and may increase your risk of a heart attack. When your cholesterol levels are high, your cornea may have a yellowish tinge, or a yellow ring around it. Your doctor may also notice plaque buildup within your blood vessels.

A trip to the eye doctor won’t just ensure you’re seeing clearly, it may be the first step in diagnosing and managing potential threats to your heart. A foundational benefit of vision insurance plans is an annual eye exam, so make an appointment to get your eyes checked today.