Three Health Conditions That May Be Detected During An Eye Exam

Generally, when people think of eye exams, they assume that all that is being evaluated is whether or not they need glasses to correct their vision. While often this is the eye doctor's primary focus when examining the eyes, there are a number of other health conditions that may first be detected during an eye exam, giving you all the more reason to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis. Health conditions that may be first detected by your eye doctor include:


Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that is often deadly if not treated. Usually, it develops on your skin, meaning that you can easily see it. Sometimes, however, patients develop melanoma in the back of their eyes -- the part they cannot see when they look in the mirror. Since melanoma in the eye does not usually cause early symptoms, the condition may first be detected when the eye doctor looks in the eye with a special microscope. While it's a terrible thing to find out you have cancer, if your eye doctor notices this disease early, you should actually be thankful, since early diagnosis means treatment is more likely to be effective.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is called "the silent killer" because it does not usually cause any noticeable symptoms, but it does increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Often, an eye doctor can tell that a patient has high blood pressure by looking at his or her eyes. They may show signs of blood vessel damage, fluid build-up in the retina, and damage to the optic nerve caused by increased pressure on the nerve. If your eye doctor suspects you have high blood pressure, you'll probably be told to follow up with your physician, who can ensure you get the treatment you need to regulate your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Autoimmune Disorders

Mild cases of autoimmune disorders like lupus often go un-diagnosed because the symptoms are so non-specific and varied that patients (and even their doctors) don't realize they are related. However, an eye doctor may spot swelling in the eyes, which is a sign of an autoimmune disorder, during a regular eye exam. This may help a patient and his or her doctor finally put all of the puzzle pieces together and realize that various other symptoms are also being caused by the same autoimmune disorder.

Contact an eye doctor at a clinic like The Eye Depot if you have specific questions about your eye health and what goes on during an eye exam.