Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eye exams can detect disease in other parts of the body.

We are not talking about iridology. The condition of the eyes can be a great indicator of overall health.

The UK's Daily Mail (8/4, Lambert) reports that "research from the" UK's "College of Optometrists suggests that a quarter of adults have gone for more than two years without having their eyes examined, while 18 percent have left it more than three years." Putting off an eye examination may be risky, since "optometrists are trained not just to pick up vision defects, but also to spot symptoms in the eye that are a sign of a dozen serious diseases elsewhere" in the body. The article goes on to detail the experience of five patients ranging in age from 23 to 72 whose optometrists discovered ulcerative colitis, pilocytic astrocytoma, myasthenia gravis, type 1 diabetes, and dangerously high blood pressure during routine eye examinations.
Survey suggests nearly two-thirds of children under six have never had an eye examination. HealthDay (8/3, Preidt) reported that, according to a survey conducted by Prevent Blindness America and VSP Vision Care, "more than 20 percent of kids aged 12 to 17 have trouble seeing the classroom chalkboard." Specifically, "of the nearly 1,500 children in the survey, more than 25 percent of the teen age group complained of headaches, even though 45 percent of them wore some type of prescription eyewear." Approximately "25 percent of children aged six to 11 wear prescription glasses." Children's eye problems also increased with age, with myopia being "the most common vision problem in older children." Notably, the survey indicated that "more than 66 percent of those under the age of six have never had their eyes examined by an eye doctor." Prevent Blindness America urged parents to have their children's "vision checked regularly." (courtesy AOA)

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