What diseases can be detected in a comprehensive eye exam?

A comprehensive eye exam involves various procedures and tests to evaluate a patient’s vision and eyes. Each test and procedure evaluate a different aspect of eye and vision health. This is why the examination can take more than an hour.

Did you know that your eyes can act as windows to your body? An eye doctor can detect signs of a disease creeping around elsewhere in your body. This is another important reason you need to undergo regular comprehensive eye exams.

A comprehensive eye exam is just as important as a physical exam in determining your health. According to the AOA, American Optometric Association, adults should have comprehensive eye exams at least once every couple of years. But if you risk developing certain eye conditions, you must get them more often.

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 Health Problems Comprehensive Eye Exams Can Detect

In addition to detecting eye-related conditions, eye doctors can recognize signs of other health problems during a routine eye exam. It is not unusual for people to leave their eye doctor’s office with a referral to another type of medical specialist. Some of the diseases or health concerns your eye doctor may detect during a comprehensive eye exam include:

Brain Tumour

A brain tumour can cause increased pressure in your brain, transmitting the pressure to your eyes. This may lead to swelling near the back of your eyes, leading to changes or damage to your optic nerve.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will notice changes to your optic nerve. Other common signs of a brain tumour include changes in pupil size, sudden double vision, and loss of side vision.


An aneurysm is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. This refers to a bubble in a blood vessel’s wall that can cause the wall to rupture or leak. Common signs of this condition include severe headaches on one side of your face, loss of facial function, or even loss of body function.


During your comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor may notice some blood or yellow fluid leaking from the tiny blood vessels in your retina. This may indicate diabetic retinopathy. Signs of diabetes may appear in your eye tissue even before your primary care doctor diagnoses you with the condition. Early detection of this condition can save you from loss of vision and other health complications.

Cancers of The Skin, Tissue, Or Blood

A comprehensive eye exam can help eye doctors detect signs of various cancers. Skin cancer such as melanoma, squamous, and basal cells are the most common forms of cancer that doctors detect during routine eye exams. They can also see signs of lymphoma and leukaemia, which can affect the internal tissues of your eyes.

High Blood Pressure

Any irregular bleeding, twists, or bends in your retinal blood vessels can be a sign of high blood pressure. This is a common condition affecting about one in three adults in America. It is a risk factor in developing and/or progressing diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and other eye conditions. A dilated eye exam can help your eye doctor notice signs of high blood pressure.

Eye exam saves Jonathan´s life

When 56-year-old Jonathan made an appointment, he had no idea it would lead to saving his sight.

Jonathan, a keen golfer, first noticed problems with his vision in July while playing golf with some friends. 

‘I realized something was wrong with my sight as I had difficulty finding my golf balls. I could see them from 20 yards away, but when I got closer, they would disappear,’ comments Jonathan. ‘This was unusual and quite frightening, so I decided to make an appointment to get some advice.’

After a complete eye examination, including a visual field test that detects changes in peripheral vision, through this test, he’d picked up that Jonathan was struggling to see to the right with his right eye and to the left with his left. We recognized that this could be a sign of a brain tumour, so he made an urgent referral to a local Hospital.

The next day Jonathan had an MRI scan but was told that he couldn’t be discharged until he’d seen a consultant. Here, he was given the news that he had a tumour the size of a tennis ball growing on his brain. Due to its position, the doctors advised that Jonathan would need an operation to remove it.  

‘I went to my eye exam expecting nothing more serious than a prescription change, so to be told that I had a brain tumour was a complete shock,’ continues Jonathan.

A week after his appointment, Jonathan underwent the 14-hour procedure to remove the tumour.

Four months after the operation, Jonathan is recovering well at home, and his vision has returned.

‘This experience has highlighted to me how important it is to speak to a professional when something doesn’t feel right, especially when it concerns your health,’ Jonathan adds.  ‘If I’d not gone, I may well be in a very different position today, so I’m extremely grateful.’

Keeping your eyes healthy at all times

As trusted eye care providers in Madrid, we service patients suffering from chronic eye issues. If it’s time for you to see an eye doctor, Centro Fernandez-Velazquez can help you to make your appointment. At Centro Fernandez-Velazquez, we have provided the best eye care services for many years in Madrid for the English-speaking community for more than 20 years. You can check our areas of speciality and qualifications here.

Call us today at 915 417 419 to schedule your first in-person consultation. If you need further information, you can contact our office here.  

Dr Fernández-Velázquez, OD

Dr. Fernando Fernandez-Velazquez was born in Madrid,  and attended University of Madrid, where he majored in Optics. He then received his Doctor of Optometry degree at New England College of Optometry located in Boston, Massachusetts.
He continued his optometry education and completed a program with emphasis in Contact Lenses and Ocular Diseases at City University of London prior to becoming a member of the British College of Optometrists.

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