A new study shows promising signs that in the future an eye examination will be able to identify the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers have identified that changes in the shape of the eye occur before signs of the disease are apparent. It is estimated that Parkinson’s disease affects 1 in 500 people, making it the second most common neurodegenerative disease. As such, it is possible that a routine eye examination would identify the condition when it is in its infancy, thus allowing it to be managed from the very early stages.
Many people still view an eye examination as simply a test of vision, to identify how well you see. Even after an eye examination, many patients don’t realise what the optician has been looking for. Patients will leave knowing about their vision. Do they need glasses? Has their contact lens prescription changed? What they may not realise is everything else that the numerous tests have discounted.
So what other conditions is your optometrist looking for?
Over time high glucose levels can weaken the blood vessels within the retina which would be identified in a routine eye examination. If left untreated diabetes can cause permanent vision loss.
High blood pressure
Irregularly shaped blood vessels and tiny pinpoint haemorrhages in the eye, can be a signs of high blood pressure.
An inflamed eye could be a sign of many eye conditions including autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Cancers and tumours
Eye cancer is very uncommon but is easily identified in an eye examination. In addition brain tumours can be picked up through the identification of an increase in intracranial pressure which often results in swelling of the optic disc.
Cardiovascular disease/high cholesterol
Your eyes contain a vast number of vessels and any blockages are easily identified by a scan using a top of the range scanner like the Optos Daytona which is used at Cameron Optometry. In addition little blobs of cholesterol can also be identified in a scan before a blockage occurs.
Thyroid eye disease (Graves’ disease)
Bulging eyes are a telltale sign of a thyroid problem, specifically thyroid eye disease also known as Graves’ disease. The eye muscles and fatty tissue behind the eye lead to a bulging of the eye, as well as the eyelids becoming swollen and red. Graves’ disease is a common sign of an overactive thyroid.
Other eye conditions
In addition to your vision, your optometrist will have examined your eyes in great detail to check for signs of eye conditions and disease including glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, infections, blepharitis and many more conditions that may not show any symptoms at their early stages.
So when you leave your eye examination with a new pair of glasses ordered, you can also leave with great reassurance. Reassurance that your optometrist has thoroughly examined your eyes and seen no reason for further investigation. Where anything potentially worrying is identified, your optometrist will ensure you are referred to the appropriate specialist for further investigation.
Please ensure you have your eyes examined every two years and immediately if you notice any changes to your eyes or your vision. Book your comprehensive eye examination today.