Why You Need an Eye Exam After a Heart Attack


If you've recently had a heart attack, you may think the only healthcare specialists you need to see are you primary care provider and your cardiologist. However, if you care about your vision, it's also essential that you see an optometrist too. There are many eye problems that can occur before or after a heart attack, and not catching them early could have serious consequences for your vision. Here are 3 reasons why you need to get an eye exam.

Beta Blockers Can Harm Your Eyes

Nowadays, most patients who've suffered a heart attack are offered beta blockers to reduce their blood pressure. While this medication is good for your heart, it can also be bad for your eyes. Alongside other blood pressure drugs, beta blockers can cause a whole host of problems with your vision, from dry eyes to light sensitivity to retinal damage. If you're on beta blockers, getting regular eye exams will ensure that any serious or uncomfortable problems are caught early. Your optometrist will be able to prescribe treatments for minor issues (including artificial tears for dry eyes) or refer you to a specialist for more serious complaints.

You Could Have Retinopathy

Many people who've had heart attacks also have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. But hypertension doesn't just harm your heart--it can have serious consequences for your eyes too. The main concern is hypertensive retinopathy, which is damage that occurs to the retinal blood vessels when high blood pressure narrows them. If left to develop, retinopathy can lead to serious vision problems, so it's essential you find it early. An eye specialist can use a tool called an opthalmoscope to look at your retina and see if there's any blood vessel damage. If you do have hypertensive retinopathy, your optometrist can advise you on the next steps to take, whether that's medication or lifestyle changes.

You May Be at Risk for Macular Degenration

Research conducted by an Australian team found that people with coronary artery disease, a common cause of heart attacks, were more likely to develop vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD, which happens when the macula (a part of the retina) deteriorates, is a serious condition which causes permanent vision loss in over 60s. Thankfully, it's possible for an optometrist to detect early signs of AMD during a regular eye test before it starts to become symptomatic, so getting an eye exam after a heart attack could save your vision.


9 November 2017

Eye Health: What You Need to Know

Hello! My name is Leah and this is my blog which will explain everything you need to know about how your eyes work, how you can care for them and what you should do if you have pain or problems with your vision. When I had trouble seeing, I didn't know what to do. For a long time, I just put up with it. In the end, my mother told me I should go and see an optometrist, so I did. I had an eye exam and I was fitted with a pair of glasses which allow me to see perfectly.