If you think that eye-tests can only help you to determine your eye-sight, then you are wrong my friend. In fact, an expert peek into your peepers could reveal anything from diabetes to high blood pressure to even cancer. By viewing the health of the blood vessels inside the eye, doctors can spot serious conditions while they're still in the early stages.
Spotting a brain tumour early can be a matter of life and death. Over 5,000 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year, while over 10,600 people are diagnosed, according to the Brain Tumour Charity. An optometrist can check for blurred vision and monitor unusual pupil dilation and the colour of the optic nerve. A Visual Fields diagnostic test can assist in the diagnosis. This test is widely available within optometry practices today.
Now the question arises, how exactly can your eyes give a clue to this? Dr Nigel Best, an optometrist from Specsavers, explains, “Swelling of the optic nerve can be visible during an eye test, and that can indicate that a brain tumour is present.”
According to Harvard Medical School, this swelling of the optic nerve is called papilledema and occurs due to intracranial pressure (pressure inside the skull). Fluid surrounding the brain is constantly produced and reabsorbed, maintaining just enough intracranial pressure to help protect the brain if there is blunt head trauma.
When a tumour is present, however, it creates extra intracranial pressure, which causes the optic nerve to swell. Other changes to the eye that can signal a possible brain tumour include sudden changes to a person’s field of sight and onset of blurry vision. The rest of the eye can also swell, and rapid changes to the retina can signify pressure from a brain tumour.
Register for a check-up if you have one or more problems from the list-
- Bulging of one or both eyes
- Dark curtain or veil that blocks your vision
- Decreased vision, even if only temporary
- Diabetes mellitus
- Distorted vision
- Double vision
- Excess tearing
- Eyelid abnormalities
- Family history of eye disease
- Coloured circles around lights
- High blood pressure
- HIV or Aids
- An injury or trauma to the eye
How to maintain healthy eyes?
- Have periodic eye exams (every 2-3 years for healthy patients under 50, yearly for patients over 50 or those with known health risk factors).
- Know your family's history for any eye problems.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle. Do you buy eye care products online, if you are not sure of its effects on your body. However, if you are a regular user, you can get them from an online pharmacy or drugstore.
- Eat a nutritious diet for eyesight.
- Wear durable eye protection when involved in activities that could cause traumatic risk to your vision, such as sports, dealing with firearms, playing paintball. Occupations where hammering, cutting, sawing, drilling, or working overhead are other examples.
- Avoid hazards such as fireworks.