We are seeing a new era in healthcare. Gone are the days of the all-knowing doctor and the passive patient. Consumerism is driving changes in medicine, with Americans demanding higher-quality care, better cost management, and a greater focus on preventive medicine.
How can you use these trends to your advantage? One option is to make routine vision care work harder for you.
Annual eye exams are preventive health
Few people realize that a routine eye exam can detect and diagnose more than 25 different medical conditions—including those that are most feared by Americans, such as stroke risk, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, and heart disease. Better yet, an eye exam often identifies the condition long before the patient even knows they have the disease.
Take a minute to think about that. A routine vision exam is noninvasive; takes 60 minutes or less; often occurs at convenient times of the day; and can be used as screening for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
One example is a study from Population Health Management, which found that a routine eye exam detected signs of chronic disease long before any other health professional had noted the condition. Specifically, the researchers found signs of high cholesterol 65% of the time, high blood pressure 30% of the time, and diabetes 20% of the time.
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This was seen in another study, this time from the International Journal of Ophthalmology, where researchers reported that 21% of patients tested during an eye exam had high blood pressure, yet two-thirds (67%) of them had no idea they had elevated levels.