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How your sight exam can detect a risk of stroke

Many people are unaware that routine sight exams can detect early signs of eye disease. An eye exam can also help identify many other health conditions including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and increased risk of stroke.

A study published in the journal Ophthalmology found that people with certain changes in their eyes were more likely to have a stroke in the future. 

The changes were seen in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye.
Stroke Awareness Month
Researchers believe that the changes are caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, which can be a sign of damage to blood vessels elsewhere in the body, including the brain.

The study looked at data from over 100,000 people in the UK.

The researchers found that people with certain changes in their retinas were more likely to have a stroke in the next five years.

The changes included:

  • Thickening of the blood vessels in the retina
  • Narrowing of the blood vessels in the retina
  • Leakage of blood from the blood vessels in the retina

The researchers say that the findings could help doctors identify people at risk of stroke and take steps to prevent it. Lead author Dr. Matthew Gardiner, from the University of Oxford says,

"This study provides further evidence that eye tests could be used to identify people at risk of stroke. We believe that this could be a valuable tool for stroke prevention, and we are currently working on developing a simple and affordable test that could be used in primary care settings"
The study was funded by the Stroke Association and the Medical Research Council.
Lady having a sight exam

How can I reduce the risk of stroke?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke, including:

Eye exams can help to spot early signs of stroke.
If you are concerned about your risk of stroke, talk to your doctor, and if you are overdue your routine sight examination, please book today.
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