Eye exams: a window into health

Healthbeat

Detecting more than vision problems

KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Most eye care professionals recommend getting a comprehensive eye exam every year or two. It may vary depending on your age, risk factors or if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. But that exam can reveal more than just your ability to see.

Shakespeare said the eyes are the window to your soul. But optometrists will tell you eyes are also the window to your health. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller visited a local eye care center to find out how.

69-year-old Jerry Mikielski of Lake Township gets his eyes examined at Family Vision Care of Kingston. “Never had glasses until I was about 40-years-old,” Mr. Mikielski said. An eye exam determined that need but a subsequent exam uncovered something more troubling.

“It’s the type of thing if you catch it early, that’s a big plus,” he said.

Mr. Mikielski was diagnosed with Salzmann’s nodular degeneration which is a rare, slowly progressive condition of the eye that could threaten your vision and require surgery.

“As technology advances throughout the years, there’s a lot of things they can tell by looking in your eyes,” he said.

It was also determined he had macular degeneration. A photo revealing the slow deterioration of Mr. Mikielski’s eye retina was taken through what’s called Optomap imaging. Family Vision Care of Kingston Optometrist Carl Urbanski, OD said, “We can capture about 80 percent of the retina internally with one digital photograph.”

Besides Salzmann’s nodular degeneration and macular degeneration, Optomap can pick-up such problems as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. But eye exams in general can reveal a whole lot more. Dr. Urbanski said, “The eye health part of the examination really allows us to pick up any vascular changes like hypertensive or diabetic changes.”

Eye exams can also detect cancer and tumors, multiple sclerosis and thyroid disorders, and even a high risk of stroke: health threats that might otherwise go unnoticed. It’s why Dr. Urbanski urges patients to undergo eye exams every one to two years.

“You never want to have to say to that patient boy, I wish you came in a couple of years ago when we could have helped you,” he said.

Mr. Mikielski undergoes regular eye exams with Dr. Urbanski and is successfully managing both of his eye conditions.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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