Silicon Valley Eye Physicians

Diseases that Can Be Diagnosed with an Eye Exam

By Moshe Mendelson, OD on October 05, 2018

Eye examProfessional eye care services, such as routine eye exams, are the best way to protect the eyes and prevent long-term damage from a variety of eye diseases. In addition, comprehensive eye exams provide our doctors with information pertaining to the patient’s overall physical health.

In some cases, a routine eye exam can alert a patient to possible health complications before they even present noticeable side effects. Here, patients can learn about some of the most common diseases that can be diagnosed with an eye exam at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, serving Sunnyvale, CA and Santa Clara, CA.


Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to regulate insulin production. Without proper treatment, diabetes can result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause side effects such as headaches, fatigue, and weakness.

Diabetes can also have an effect on the eyes and, therefore, can be diagnosed by a routine eye exam. Diabetes can cause the small blood vessels in the retina to leak blood or other fluids, which is a condition known as diabetic retinopathy.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a disease that often goes undetected. In many cases, hypertension does not result in any obvious symptoms. Patients who do experience symptoms, which may include headaches, dizziness, or nose bleeds, usually ignore them.

High blood pressure may be detected by a routine eye exam. Hypertension can cause small kinks or tears in the blood vessels within the eye. If these irregularities are present, we will advise patients to follow up with their general physician.

High Cholesterol

Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol rarely produces noticeable side effects. However, it can cause the cornea of the eye to take on a yellowish tint, which is noticeable during an eye exam.

Other symptoms that may be detected during a routine eye exam include plaque buildup within the blood vessels of the retina. For many patients, these irregularities are the first hint a patient has that they have high cholesterol.

Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease can exhibit itself in a number of ways. However, many symptoms of thyroid disease can be dismissed as general effects of fatigue or the common cold.

One symptom that is recognized as an effect of thyroid disease is bulging or protruding eyes. This condition is caused by Grave’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid to over-produce. Although bulging eyes sound like a condition that would be pretty obvious, it usually is not detected until the patient undergoes a routine eye exam.


Cancer can affect virtually any part of the body, and the eyes are no exception. An eye exam can alert patients to irregularities in the structure of the eye than may be a sign of ocular melanoma.

Routine eye exams can also be vital in diagnosing skin cancer, which may develop on the eyelid. As with any cancer, early detection is vital to the success of treatment, so in cases such as these, an eye exam can literally be lifesaving.

Eye Diseases

While an eye exam can provide insight into a patient’s overall health, it is intended to check eye health. Routine eye exams are the most effective way to diagnose common eye diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

Early detection and treatment are key to getting these conditions under control before they permanently damage the eye and lead to long-term vision problems.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about the many ways an eye exam can benefit the health of your eyes and body, contact us at your earliest convenience. The experienced eye doctors at Silicon Valley Eye Physicians are happy to answer any questions you may have. Call (408) 739-6200 to set up a personal consultation.

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Sunnyvale Office

1010 W. Fremont Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

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