News Flash > Cardiovascular Health

 

Detecting Disease Through the Eyes

Reported June 26, 2009


INDIANAPOLIS (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- From diabetes to cancer -- it can all be spotted by taking a closer look at your eyes. A new laser scan is helping doctors find major health problems sooner.

"February of last year I started to notice flashes," Christa Dodge told Ivanhoe.

Those flashes turned out to be a serious problem in Dodge's left eye -- a malignant melanoma.

"It's scary to think that was on my eye," Dodge said.

Gregg Ossip, O.D., an optometrist at Ossip Optometry in Indianapolis, Ind., spotted the problem with a one-second laser scan.

"It's actually looking through the dark part of the eye, looking through the pupil to the back of the eye which is the retina, so it's just capturing that image," Dr. Ossip told Ivanhoe.

 

 

That image can spot cancer, glaucoma, macular degeneration even the early signs of hypertension and diabetes. The scan zooms in on tiny blood vessels. If there are hemorrhages in the back of the eye, diabetes or stroke might be in your future.

"Sixty to 70 percent of these patients have no idea that diabetes, high blood pressure and these things are found in the back of the eye, and obviously if you're seeing them in the eye blood vessels, it's happening everywhere else in the body," Dr. Ossip said.

There's a good chance Dodge will lose vision in her left eye over the next two years. She says that beats the alternative: having her eye removed if the cancer had spread.

"At first, I think I was a little scared about it, but if you think about it, two years is a long time," Dodge said.

Losing her vision -- but keeping her life.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Doctors believe with tools like the Optomap they can stop the disease before it becomes debilitating.