If you are recovering from a heart attack, you will no doubt be doing all you can to protect your health. While you will no doubt you will be under the care of a cardiologist, they are not the only health professional you should see. You may be surprised to find out that you should also book an appointment with an optometrist. Read on to find out the reasons why.
The majority of people who suffer a heart attack also suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. While there are medications you can take and lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure, by the time you have had a heart attack the condition may have already damaged your eyes. Hypertension results in a condition called retinopathy. Retinopathy results in damage to the blood vessels in the eye. An optometrist will be able to carry out a full examination of your retina and the blood vessels at the back of your eye. Once this assessment is complete, the optometrist will draw up a treatment plan.
During your recovery from your heart attack, it is likely that you will be prescribed beta blockers. Beta blockers are a drug which will reduce your blood pressure, which will reduce the strain on your heart. However, beta blockers can have a negative impact on your eyes. Beta-blockers can cause side effects such as increased sensitivity to light and dry eyes which can result in damage to the retina. By attending regular eye exams, you can ensure that any problems caused by your medication are addressed before they develop into more severe conditions. If your eyes are sensitive to light, the optometrist may prescribe transitional lens for your glasses. These lenses are clear under normal light conditions. However, when exposed to bright sunlight, they darken to protect the eyes. If your eyes are dry, your optometrist may prescribe eye drops.
Research has found that those who have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, a leading cause of heart attacks, are much more likely to go on to suffer from macular degeneration. Macular degeneration occurs when the retina begins to deteriorate. If left untreated, macular degeneration can result in loss of vision. An optometrist will be able to identify this condition before it affects your sight.
If you would like to find out more, you should contact an optometrist today.