In reality, the eye exam is more than a simple glasses and contacts checkup. The health of the body is reflected in the ocular health, which is why a yearly dilated eye exam is recommended for everyone.
When we dilate the eyes, we are looking at the retinal blood vessels. These vessels show us how blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes are affecting all of the blood vessels throughout your body because the vessels in your eyes are the same in your heart, your kidneys, your feet, etc. We literally get a view inside the entire body.
What about those patients who don’t have vascular concerns? Retinal holes and tears commonly have symptoms, but some patients with these problems will have no symptoms at all. We have no idea until we dilate their eyes. Without prompt treatment, these can threaten vision, irreversibly.
Eye exams also serve as an ocular cancer screening. The second most common location for melanoma is within the eyes (most common: skin). Early diagnosis is extremely critical for survival due to high risk of metastasis. Unfortunately, most patients don’t have symptoms in early stages, and lesions are likely to be missed when you are not dilated.
We only get two eyes, and we cannot imagine life without our sight. That is our mission: Preserve vision throughout your entire lifetime. So don’t leave your vision/life to chance. Make sure you get your yearly eye exam!