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Eye exams: Your health through the eyes of your optometrist

What do my eyes have to do with my overall health?

Many people don’t realize an eye exam is not just determining your prescription for glasses, but it’s a wellness check of your overall health. During that awkward silence, when the eye doctor is invading your personal space with his bright light, he is examining structures of the eye that can show changes related to systemic health conditions and diseases. In some cases, an eye exam can save your life!

Conditions An Eye Exam Can Detect

There are many serious health conditions that are often first detected during a comprehensive eye test. Here are a few things that your optometrist might find:

High blood pressure

The blood vessels in the back of the eye are often a predictor of how the rest of the blood vessels in the body are doing. Narrowing of the ocular arteries can often signal high blood pressure and can give the doctor insight about a future heart disease. Some studies show that high blood pressure can increase the pressure inside the eyeball. This increased eye pressure can lead to glaucoma, causing loss of peripheral vision if left untreated.

High cholesterol

During your eye examination, the optometrist would examine your cornea which the clear front surface of the eye. Presence of a hazy white or grey ring called arcus detected in patients under 60 years of age could indicate high cholesterol. Therefore, requiring a yearly cholesterol blood test with your Gp. Cholesterol deposits can also make their way to the retinal vessels and cause a blockage, which can lead to vision loss. Cholesterol in the eye can even be an early detector for someone at risk for a life-threatening stroke!


Did you know one of the first clue to a diabetes type 2 diagnosis is fluctuating vision and small bleeds within the vessels of your eye? A Haemoglobin A1c blood test can be ordered to confirm the increased sugar levels. If your optometrist sees these changes early, he can recommend exercise and diet changes to prevent the condition from worsening.

Autoimmune diseases

Most of the times, autoimmune disease related eye issues would occur first before prompting a diagnosis. Some of these eye issues your optometrist can detect includes red eyes from rheumatoid arthritis, dry eyes from Sjogren syndrome. Multiple Sclerosis can cause missing parts of vision. Graves’ disease can cause double vision. Ankylosing spondylitis can cause light sensitivity and recurring inflammation, called uveitis

Schedule an Eye Test Today

A comprehensive eye exam is so much more than just telling you if you need glasses or not. It provides a view into your body and overall health.

Book in today for a comprehensive eye exam at JUNIC EYECARE PLUS COOMBS. Get your eye examination, for your overall wellbeing.

Author: Juliet Menakaya, O.D MPH

CANBERRA OPTOMETRIST Juliet obtained her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Benin, Nigeria in 2006. She completed an internship programme before migrating to Australia, where she completed a master’s degree in public health at the University of Sydney in 2014. Following this, Juliet obtained a Master of Orthoptics from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 2017. Juliet has completed her competency in optometry examination with OCANZ (Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand), and obtained her ophthalmic prescribing rights from ACO (Australian College Of Optometry Victoria). Juliet has worked in various positions, including retail Optometry, the Ophthalmology Department at Canberra Hospital, and more recently, at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (ANU). As a dedicated Canberra optometrist, Juliet is passionate about helping people with low vision, and binocular vision anomalies hence her interests in Low Vision Rehabilitation, Eccentric Viewing Training and Paediatric optometry.