Kaiser Permanente Optometrist John Shan, OD, FAAO, Explains How Eye Health Relates to Overall Health

Well, eye exams are really
important in order to maintain really good eye
health and good vision. A lot of our patients don’t
understand how important it is to maintain good overall
general health as well. This is because the eye in
itself is a very vascularized organ that contains hundreds of
tiny little blood vessels you can see in this
model, the size of a hair — a strand of hair,
that tell us a lot of clues about what’s going
on inside the body. So during an eye exam,
we’re able to see the tiny little blood vessels
inside the retina or the back part of the eye. Oftentimes, we can detect
earlier signs of diabetes, high blood pressure,
inflammation and even cancer sometimes. This is why I really highly
recommend our patients to receive a baseline exam whether
they need glasses or not. A lot of serious eye conditions
such as glaucoma or macular degeneration can be
detected before it’s too late. So again, we do recommend
patients take a proactive and preventative approach to
their eye health and their general health.

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