Health Conditions an Annual Eye Exam Can Catch

Sometimes people visit an eye doctor only when a concern presents, but it’s recommended to get an eye exam annually or as advised by your physician. An eye exam can detect symptoms of underlying health conditions and could help you receive treatment earlier.

While a comprehensive eye exam can discover numerous health issues, let’s review five major health problems that an ophthalmologist can identify.


In 2017, eye doctors diagnosed more than 400,000 patients with diabetic retinopathy before they had even been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy could cause vision loss if not treated in time.

An annualeye exam will evaluate blood vessels in the retina and determine if there is any damage. If an ophthalmologist suspects you may have diabetes, they may send you to your primary care provider for an evaluation.

High Blood Pressure

Nearly one-third of people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it and are going untreated for it. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, often doesn’t have any symptoms. It may take a medical visit to notice the issue.

An annual eye exam is one way to learn if you have hypertension. High blood pressure can cause a tiny blood vessel to break in the white part of your eyes. People with hypertension may also experience mild swelling of the eyes. Arteries of the retina may stiffen and cause bulging.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol can cause significant health problems in individuals. Cholesterol can attach to the inside of blood vessels and can cause improper blood flow in the arteries.

Ophthalmologists can determine if you may have high cholesterol during an annual eye exam. Some symptoms include having a blue or yellow ring surrounding their cornea. An eye exam can also spot cholesterol deposits in the retina’s blood vessels that could indicate high cholesterol levels.

Thyroid Disease

Your thyroid gland exists at the base of your neck, but symptoms of thyroid disease can show in your eyes. An annual eye exam will notice issues like protruding eyeballs or retracting eyelids that may indicate that the patient has hyperthyroidism—that is, an overactive thyroid gland.

Patients may initially see an eye doctor for dry eye symptoms. But since thyroid disease causes retracting eyelids, that is the cause behind the dry eyes. Treating hyperthyroidism will fix the dry eye symptoms as well as help the patient control their metabolism and overall growth.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that mostly affects the joints. A patient with this disease can also have symptoms that appear during an annual eye exam. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause eye redness and pain in the eye. An ophthalmologist can evaluate further and notice inflammation within the eye.

Schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist in Lancaster, PA

At Manning, Rommel, and Thode Associates, we strive to provide personalized care and attention to each patient. Our highly trained team is dedicated to ensuring that you have clear vision that improves your quality of life. Contact us at 717-393-7980 option 1 to schedule your appointment.