Vision is an essential part of life and work. In fact, we use our sight so frequently that we can sometimes take it for granted. But as much as our eyes help us in our everyday lives, their most valuable role could be in safeguarding our health.
Vision care is an affordable and effective way for employees to stay fit for years to come. That’s because it protects a person’s overall health, beyond just sight. Our bodies are interconnected in such a way that eye exams can discover problems all throughout the body. They can detect hundreds of chronic health conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a well-known fact that the earlier health issues are discovered, the better the chances are for successful treatment. For instance, diseases like diabetes or glaucoma can cause irreparable damage if not caught early, yet their effects begin long before the symptoms become noticeable. This means every routine eye exam could be the first step to preventing a life-threatening illness.
In a recent discussion with one of our in-network optometrists, she explained how she discovered diabetes in a patient who had no obvious symptoms. By photographing the back of the patient’s eye, they were able to find hemorrhages in the blood vessels that pointed to a systemic issue. With this warning the patient was then able to seek out a successful treatment.
Similarly, I have also encountered a personal situation in which an eye exam has saved a life. Several years ago, a friend of mine accompanied his father to what was supposed to be a routine eye exam. But it quickly became an emergency when the exam found that he had dangerously high blood pressure. With this warning they were able to rush my friend’s dad to the hospital, saving him from a stroke. Because eye exams are the only way to see naked blood vessels without surgery, they are the most economical and least invasive way to check for diseases.
People often underestimate the importance of vision care and don’t prioritize getting their eyes examined. This is a big gamble because the deterioration in one’s eyes is often so gradual that they can cross a point of no return without warning. For the best precaution, optical professionals suggest getting your eyes examined at least once a year. And it’s important that those who have been diagnosed with diabetes or similar diseases get regular eye exams, as those conditions can be especially damaging to the eyes.
Eye exams should not be seen as the be-all end-all for avoiding serious diseases, but rather a first line of defense. It’s one of the only ways to detect illness without surgery. They provide employees with an important tool to stay healthy, making them more productive and efficient in the workplace.
This column is also featured on Laborpress.org