Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, one person dies from heart disease every 34 seconds.
However, most people don't know that an eye exam can give you a heart health checkup. That is why optometrists from Eyemart Express, a national optical retailer known for helping people see clearly faster, are educating consumers about this simple way to uncover hidden heart health issues just in time for American Heart Month.
In addition to evaluating your eye health and vision, annual comprehensive eye exams can provide medical insights about the heart such as high cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease and an increased risk of heart attacks and even diabetes.
"The eyes provide a window into your overall health," says Dr. Mike Balgemann, an optometrist at Eyemart Express in Champaign, Illinois. "We can alert you to any signs that set off alarm bells regarding your heart."
Dr. Balgemann shares the top hidden signs for heart health that eye doctors can pick up on during an eye exam:
Blood vessels inside the eye change size—narrowing or ballooning—from the stress of high blood pressure and heart disease
Blocked blood vessels in the eyes can cause loss of sight and reveal the increased risk of a stroke
Leaks and bleeds from weak blood vessels in the retina can be indicators of high blood pressure and diabetes
Signs of high cholesterol, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease
"There have been several occasions when I have instructed a patient to go to the emergency room right away because of life-threatening signs revealed by their eye exam," says Dr. Balgemann.
Schedule an eye exam with one of Eyemart Express' optometrists across the country to keep your eyes and heart healthy in one appointment. Find an Eyemart Express location near you here.
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