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Importance of getting eyes examined

September 10, 2012 1:21:59 PM PDT
Many of us make a point of getting a yearly physical or check in with the dentist every 6 months. But how many people take the time to have their eyes examined as well? It is an appointment that can do more than help improve your eyesight. It could also save your life.

"One day I woke up and my lip was turned and the whole right side of my face was numb," said Lisa Lorenzi.

For weeks Lisa Lorenzi, a young mother, battled dizziness and headaches. It was all caused by swelling in the brain, a rare condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri.

The biggest surprise was how doctors first diagnosed it, by looking into her eyes.

"That's the only way they were able to detect what I had," she said.

Eye doctors can not only check your vision, they can also detect other diseases just by looking into your eyes.

Dr. Jay Wisnicki is the medical director for Union Square Eye Care and Attending Physician at Beth Israel Medical Center.

He says that major nerve in the eye is a clue for many conditions.

"Changes in the optic nerve can be a sign of brain tumors, various neurologic problems, multiple sclerosis is an example, and glaucoma," he said.

And by looking at blood vessels in the back of the eye, doctors can pick up other problems.

That's why it's important for every adult to have a complete eye exam even if you have no symptoms whatsoever.

You should have a complete eye exam once in your 20's, twice in your 30's and again at the age of 40. Then follow up as often as your doctor recommends.

And again, those are the recommendations if do not have any symptoms. If you do, or if you have a family history of eye problems, or if wear glasses or contacts, you have to go more often.

Fore more on eye exam suggestions, go to http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/index.cfm

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