Comprehensive Annual Eye Exams May Be a Key to the
Early Detection of Serious Medical Conditions

It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. “The face is a picture of the mind, as the eyes are its interpreter,” said Roman philosopher and orator Cicero. To a well-trained eye physician, however, the eyes are the windows to a person’s health.

A comprehensive annual eye exam not only helps maintain or enhance one’s vision, but may also lead to the discovery of potentially serious systemic medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lupus, sarcoid, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. In some cases, infectious diseases have even been discovered.

“While a comprehensive eye examination can lead to the discovery of serious eye or medical conditions, I view it as an opportunity to help a patient work to minimize those risk factors that are within our control to help them lead a longer and healthier life,” explains Retina Specialist Hetal D. Vaishnav, MD, director of clinical research at The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery.

During a comprehensive eye examination, eye physicians use dilating drops that cause the muscles in the iris to relax and fully open.

With the iris muscles relaxed and the pupil fully dilated (open), an eye physician can thoroughly inspect the blood vessels inside the back of the eye. “By performing a dilated retinal examination, we can detect changes that may be occurring elsewhere in the body that relate to diabetes, high blood pressure, or a whole host of other serious medical conditions,” adds  Dr. Vaishnav. “The eyes are the only organ through which a physician may directly examine a patient’s blood vessels.”

Dr. Hetal D. Vaishnav and Dr. Gary J. Ganiban

Dr. Hetal D. Vaishnav and Dr. Gary J. Ganiban

“This is why we encourage every one of our patients to have at least a yearly examination that includes dilation of the eyes, which can yield detailed information about the person’s current health status as well as their likely future state of health.” — Dr. Hetal D. Vaishnav

Having one’s eyes dilated enables the eye physician to perform the most thorough examination. When one of the doctors at The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery performs a dilated eye exam, he or she is looking for conditions that are not easily detected during a standard eye exam. Left untreated, some of these conditions can cause significant vision loss or even blindness.

Advanced, state-of-the-art Imaging
At the Center for Retinal Care at The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery, the doctors combine thorough eye examination techniques with state-of-the-art digital imaging to ensure that each patient receives the very best care possible. Digital, high-definition retinal evaluations are revolutionizing the early detection and treatment of eye conditions such as macular diseases, retinal diseases and diabetic-related disorders.

“Systemic diseases – those that affect multiple organs or the entire body – such as high blood pressure, diabetes, Graves’ disease, lupus, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders, frequently cause changes in the eye that can show up as inflammation, small blood clots or swelling within the retina,” explains Gary J. Ganiban, MD, chief of Vitreo-Retinal Diseases and Surgery at The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery.

“The good news is that by detecting these problems early, we are often able to help our patients maintain or regain their eyesight, and we are also able to coordinate care with their primary care physician and other specialists to help our patients achieve their best possible quality of life,” reports Dr. Vaishnav.

To schedule an appointment with one of the eye specialists at The Eye Institute for Medicine & Surgery, please call (321) 722-4443 or visit SeeBetterBrevard.com. Appointments are available in the Rockledge, Melbourne and Palm Bay offices.