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An Ophthalmologist Sees More Than the Eyes

A common misconception is that an ophthalmologist only treats blurry vision and writes prescriptions for glasses. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is an old saying augenarzt-gesucht.de that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, the eyes are also the window to a person’s overall health. The most likely way for an eye problem to be caught in a timely manner is via regular visits to an ophthalmologist, and these visits can also help patients by providing insight into issues with other parts of the body.

Spondyloarthritis

Spondyloarthritis is a form of inflammatory rheumatic disease that causes arthritis. The disease follows two common symptoms. First, a person begins to feel pain and stiffness most often associated with the spine. Though less common, it can also appear in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. The second way this disease presents itself is via bone deformities in the shoulders and hips. Spondyloarthritis is sometimes mistaken for sciatica, especially if it is not yet so far advanced that the patient has experienced significant chronic pain and fatigue. The condition also causes inflammation in the intestines, skin, and eyes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics must keep a close eye on their vision with regular check-ups that include a dilation of the eyes. Type 2 diabetics, however, can live for years without a diagnosis, and that differs from the fast onslaught of Type 1. The longer Type 2s remain undiagnosed and untreated, the longer that high blood sugar is damaging the blood vessels in their eyes. This damage is called diabetic retinopathy. Anyone who is at risk for Type 2 should always have a regular eye examination to see if their eyes show signs of high blood sugar. Any blurriness of the eyes should always be examined, as it can indicate both types.

Cancer

Cancer affects every part of the body, including the eyes. Cancer also shows up in the eyes when it affects other areas of the body. For instance, colon cancer can be genetically linked with bear tracks, pigment spots, and retina freckles. These terms all fall under congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium, or CHRPE, which is a pigmented spot that appears in the eyes. Patients that find out their eyes contain these marks should see a gastroenterologist. After a careful review of family history and lifestyle, a colonoscopy can help reveal polyps and determine if they are cancerous. It is also possible for tumors in other parts of the body to metastasize in the eyes. In men, this is more common if they have lung cancer. In women, this is common if they have breast cancer. Indications of brain cancer can also appear in the eyes.

An ophthalmologist has the ability to not only treat the eyes, but also to help spot the signs of other health problems, referring a patient to the proper specialist for a diagnosis. An eye doctor does much more than write new prescriptions for glasses. An eye doctor helps save lives.

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