An eye condition picked up in annual eye exams can aid early identification of a variety of other health conditions, according to a new study released by VSP
Ninety-eight percent of study participants who had a grayish-white ring around the cornea — a condition called corneal arcus — also had metabolic problems related to conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, concludes a study conducted by VSP and the Columbus Research Foundation in Columbus, Ga.
Until now, health professionals have assumed arcus is related to high cholesterol. This study suggested the relationship between arcus and high blood sugar needs to be studied further, VSP officials said.
Follow-up testing showed that 88 percent of the patients with arcus had high blood sugar, 66 percent had an elevated body mass index, 64 percent had high blood pressure and 21 percent had elevated cholesterol.
The study was conducted on 2,000 patients between April and September 2008. In addition to an eye exam, VSP doctors screened patients for other health risks and referred those at risk to the foundation for diagnosis and additional testing.
“This study demonstrates … how comprehensive eye exams should be used as a screening for prevalent metabolic conditions,” Dr. Steven Leichter, medical director at the research foundation, said in a press release. “Greater partnership between relevant health care providers may enhance the efficiency of our health care system and, in the end, reduce health care costs.”
Source: Sacrament's Business Journal