During my time as an optometrist, I've come to find out that many people are unfamiliar with the services that I can provide for them. Did you know that I accept more than vision plans? Did you know that you can diagnose diabetes from looking at a retina? If not, then I have the column for you. Here are the four facts about ocular health that everyone should know:
Optometrists do more than just glasses. An optometrist is a specialist who can treat eye disease to the point of surgery. A complete exam can assesss the front of the eye for dryness, allergies, infections, and cataracts. A dilated examination of the back of the eye, called the retina, can determine if diabetes, glaucoma, or macular degeneration is affecting vision.
Optometrists accept most major medical insurance plans. Optometrists are not limited to whether you have a vision plan and what type. As a medical specialty, optometrists accept medical insurance for eye exams. Also, rechecks and follow-ups for conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and other eye diseases are considered medical follow-ups, and thus are billed under medical insurances.
Even if you are 20/20, you should get a yearly dilated eye examination. There is more to ocular health than just reading letters on a chart. Having your eyes dilated and retina examined can catch diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure in their early stages. Indeed, the arteries and veins in the eye are the smallest in the body, and affected by these vascular diseases before any other blood vessels. Furthermore, the retina is only part of the body where blood vessels can be examined without cutting open the skin
Diabetics need yearly eye examinations. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, due to the affect of the disease on the blood vessels that provide nourishment to the retina. Also, diabetics are 50% more likely to develop glaucoma and cataracts.