Early Detection & Disease Management

Eye Care Benefits Toolkit

Eye Health Basics: Early Detection & Disease Management

Preventive care is essential to eye health and vision care. Your eyes reveal more than just vision issues. They are the only place where a doctor can view the health of the brain, nerves, blood vessels and connecting tissue without cutting into or scanning a body part. Comprehensive eye exams can detect signs and symptoms of serious, possibly life-threatening conditions. Here are three examples of chronic diseases that such exams can diagnose early and monitor throughout an employee’s continuum of care:

Diabetes: The leading cause of blindness among adults ages 20 – 74 and prevalence is steadily growing. Diabetes is expected to affect one in 10 people worldwide by 2040. According to a 2018 American Eye-Q® Survey, nearly half of Americans don’t know whether diabetic eye diseases have visible symptoms. More than one-third don’t know a comprehensive eye exam is the only way to determine if a person’s diabetes will cause blindness. Sixty-eight percent of Americans with diabetes have been diagnosed with diabetes-related eye complications by an eye doctor, and many of those complications could have been prevented through regular eye care.

Hypertension: About one in three adults – 75 million Americans – suffer from hypertension, and only 54% have their blood pressure under control. Hypertension is known as the silent killer because it can quietly cause damage to your body for years before you develop actual signs or symptoms. Comprehensive eye exams can detect early signs of hypertension and help patients better control their blood pressure.

Glaucoma: This is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. with more than 2.7 million Americans aged 40 and over affected by the disease. Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness, yet only half of those affected know they have it. Glaucoma can’t currently be prevented but if it is diagnosed and treated early, vision loss can be delayed.

Diabetes, glaucoma and hypertension are the three most prevalent chronic conditions identified by eye care professionals. Other costly and disabling diseases can also be identified by a comprehensive eye exam, including cataracts, high cholesterol, multiple sclerosis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.