When you have your annual vision checkup with your eye doctor, your doctor does this little test where he/she uses a special scope to look at your retinas. You might wonder why the doctor wants to look at your retinas. There are actually a number of health conditions that can be discovered when a doctor looks into and through your eyes to the retinas in the backs of the eyeballs. 


Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, makes an appearance in your eyeballs. It shows up on the backs of your eyes as blood vessels that have expanded to the point that they look as though they might explode. This is dangerous from the standpoint that if blood vessels rupture in your eyes, it can change the pressure inside the eyeballs and cause temporary or permanent blindness. If you did not know that you have high blood pressure, and/or you do know but are not being treated for it, you might want to visit your family doctor for medication that will prevent these issues with your vision in the future.


The retinas contain many tiny little capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels that feed oxygen to the retinas and the eyeballs. When a patient has diabetes that is undiagnosed or untreated, the disease causes these tiny blood vessels to rupture and bleed on the backs of the eyeballs. The excess sugar in the blood is responsible for this occurrence, and it can also lead to blindness, a disorder called "diabetic retinopathy." If your eye doctor says that he/she sees something amiss with the capillaries in your retinas, do not dismiss what he/she says; see your family doctor immediately for diabetic diagnostic testing.

Detaching Retinas

Retinas are such fragile things. A little too much pressure to the eyeball can cause the retina to begin to slowly detachment. You may not even realize that it is happening until your retina completely detaches and you suddenly go blind. If you are lucky enough to visit your eye doctor before the full blindness hits you, the eye doctor can see exactly where the retina is slowly detaching. The good news is, if your eye doctor catches it early, he/she can do emergency surgery (or refer you to an ophthalmologist's office, such as Northwest Ophthalmology, that can squeeze you in for emergency surgery) to reattach the retina and save your eyeball and your vision. It is scary, but it is fixable if caught early.