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March 15, 2018

We Can See Your Heart From Here

Our eyes are the window for detecting health issues.

Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure—these are just a few of the medical conditions that can have serious effects on our eye health.

We’ve talked about the impact that diabetes can have on our eyes, particularly diabetic macular edema and the damage of blood vessels causing diabetic eye disease. We also know that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be tied to the health of our heart, and that high blood pressure can cause hypertensive retinopathy, or damage to the blood vessels in the retina.

But just as these medical conditions can be harmful to our eye health, our eyes can actually lead the charge and help to detect such diseases.

Our eyes have the ability to tell us a lot about what’s going on inside the body. In fact, the eye is the only place in our body that doctors can directly examine our blood vessels without an invasive procedure. Considering heart disease and diabetes in particular, where there can often be little-to-no symptoms early on, this peek into the eye can be important. A careful look into the eye can tell of potential damage from these conditions and even detect the risk of a future heart attack or stroke.

It only takes an eye exam. Routine dilated eye examinations with your family eye doctor are crucial to the early detection of all eye problems. From retinal blood vessel damage and vascular changes in the eyes, a comprehensive examination can look closely at the optic nerve and blood vessels in the back of the eye, which can point to critical systemic issues.

For more information on various eye conditions, click here.


USA Today Network

American Academy of Ophthalmology

National Institutes of Health