Why Annual Eye Exams Can Improve Heart Health by Renowned Eye Surgeon Dr. Stewart Shofner

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February marks American Heart Month and a great time to support habits that promote a healthy life. Dr. Stewart Shofner explains why getting regular eye exams can improve both vision and heart health.

Retina blood vessels
A trip to the eye doctor can identify other diseases.

Many people may not be aware that an eye exam could prevent a future heart event or know that vision health is linked to cardiovascular health. During American Heart Month, Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center shares why scheduling regular eye exams may also improve heart health.

“A trip to the eye doctor can identify other diseases before symptoms appear,” says Dr. Shofner. Some health conditions can also cause vision loss when not addressed timely. During an eye exam, an optometrist or ophthalmologist thoroughly examines the retina and can view small changes in the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Changes in the eye’s blood vessels can indicate more serious systemic diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension affects over 65 million Americans and many don’t even know they have it. “This disease doesn’t always show symptoms,” says Dr. Shofner.

The more advanced digital retinal imaging allows an eye doctor to quickly and painlessly detect and monitor blood flow in the retina. Ongoing research is proving that these changes in the retina can predict cardiovascular disease. This includes predicting one’s risk of having a stroke, high blood pressure or even a heart attack. Prevention is key to maintaining both vision health and heart health.

Vision Changes
“Anyone that experiences vision changes and has not had an eye exam in over a year should schedule an appointment with their local vision center,“ says Dr. Shofner. In some cases, hypertensive retinopathy can cause vision loss from retinal veins becoming obstructed.

Prevention
Researchers continue to confirm that certain risk factors such as smoking, obesity and high cholesterol levels can increase cardiovascular disease and put one’s vision at risk. Exercising, refraining from smoke (includes second hand smoke), maintaining a healthy weight and eating a heart healthy diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3s will help improve vision and heart health. It’s always recommended that patients consult with their primary care physician before starting an exercise program or taking nutritional supplements.

American Heart Month
The CDC reports heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Supporting American Heart Month could positively impact lives. Shofner Vision Center along with other leading health professionals encourages Americans to visit the Million Hearts® website to find tools that can assist with making heart-healthy goals that last a lifetime.

About Dr. Shofner
Recognized by his peers as one of the most outstanding Board Certified Ophthalmologist in the United States, Dr. Stewart Shofner has performed over 30,000 LASIK procedures and 10,000 ocular surgeries and his business continues to grow...mostly from patient referrals. Dr. Shofner has outstanding credentials to deliver the best care and surgical outcomes for patients.

About Shofner Vision Center
Shofner Vision Center provides comprehensive vision care services including LASIK/PRK vision correction, cataract surgery and eye disease diagnosis and treatment. Shofner Vision Center utilizes the most advanced, proven technology to deliver the best solutions safely and reliably. Patients can schedule appointments online or call 615-340-4733.

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Dr. Stewart Shofner

Mrs. Trish Whiteside
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