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Underlying Health Issues That an Optometrist Can Detect

There are many reasons for visiting an optometrist. Maybe you're having migraines or want to choose new glasses. Perhaps your vision has worsened over time.

This wouldn't be unusual. Around half of all Canadian adults require some form of vision correction.

But did you know that there are illnesses in other parts of your body that an optometrist can diagnose?

Certain ailments have symptoms relating to the eyes and can be detected at an eye appointment.

If you have been putting off your eye exam, read our blog on the various health issues an optometrist can detect and book an appointment today for your vision care.

Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease refers to a condition when this particular gland produces either too many or too few hormones. This can have all sorts of ill effects on the body. Common examples include fatigue, weight loss or gain, and having vision issues or even eye irritation.

These symptoms can present as inflammation of something called the periorbital soft tissue (the eyelids, for example). But thankfully, this is something your optometrist will immediately notice.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (also referred to as hypertension) is a serious condition that affects almost one-quarter of all Canadian adults. It can have a genetic component, but most often it's caused by lifestyle choices like diet and activity levels. It's a condition that many people can have for years without realizing it.

Among its other symptoms, high blood pressure also affects the eyes in a few different ways. It can cause fluid buildup under the retina and can damage the blood vessels in the retina. Your optometrist will be able to spot these things during your eye exam.

Heart Disease

Heart disease (and coronary artery disease in particular) is another condition that many people are unaware they are living with. It occurs when plaque in the form of cholesterol builds up in your arteries so blood can't flow as freely through them. In the eye, this can take the form of small emboli in the retina, which an optometrist will note as they examine your eyes with their retinoscope.


There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. The first you're born with and will usually be diagnosed at a young age, but the second, however, develops over time, usually due to lifestyle choices.

Diabetes is an ailment that is often diagnosed through an eye exam. You'd be surprised how often.

Many of its signs in the initial stages are easy to miss. But an optometrist will usually spot the tiny bulges that develop in the blood vessels as a result.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today

When choosing an optometrist for yourself, you want to make sure they'll be diligent enough to catch any of the above issues you might be experiencing. With over two decades of experience, Eye Health Centres’ optometrists provide caring eye vision services, from examinations to eyewear.

Call Eye Health Centres today to schedule your next appointment at one of our eye clinics in Calgary (Kensington and Shawnee) or Regina.


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