Did you know that your eyes are often the first line of defense when it comes to detecting and treating many common systemic diseases and conditions? It's true! Signs of conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis can first begin to show up in the eyes. This makes a comprehensive eye exam at our Grand Rapids eye care clinic an essential part of not only your eye health but of your overall whole-body health as well.
Let's take a look at some of the diseases and conditions our Grand Rapids optometrists are trained to detect.
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes is by far the most common systemic disease our optometric team diagnoses during our comprehensive eye exams. Using advanced scans and testing, eye doctors can check for changes in the blood vessels in and around your retina for signs of changes or damage that may indicate diabetes. If we find any worrying signs, we can refer you to a general practitioner who can do more thorough testing.
One of the main risks of diabetes is a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which is associated with consistently elevated blood sugar levels, and can result in damage to the blood vessels and leakage of fluid onto the retina and macula. This can lead to significant vision loss, including blindness: Timely detection and treatment, combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, can help minimize the impact of both diabetes and diabetic retinopathy.
How Your Eyes May Show Signs Of Multiple Sclerosis
Studies also indicate strong links between certain eye changes and systemic diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
The optic nerve connects the eye directly to the brain and is to some extent an extension of the central nervous system. Swelling or inflammation of the optic nerve can therefore be viewed as an early sign of multiple sclerosis. Although this kind of swelling can also indicate a number of other ailments or even a viral infection or vitamin deficiency, about 20% of people with multiple sclerosis first experienced swelling of the optic nerve.
Want to learn more about what we can do to help you maintain your whole-body health for years to come? Come visit our Grand Rapids eye doctors or give us a call at 616-459-7380 today!