Doctors of Optometry Canada

Doctors of Optometry Canada

April 30, 2013 07:00 ET

Eye Exams: More Than Just Testing Vision

Regular exams can be key to detecting serious health conditions

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 30, 2013) -

Editor's note: There is a video associated with this press release.

Did you know that a visit to your Doctor of Optometry can help to diagnose more than just your vision?

Rachel Carnegie, a 16-year-old student from Ridgetown, Ontario has a Doctor of Optometry to thank for discovering a pituitary tumour in her brain during a routine eye exam. Rachel is an example of how routine eye exams do more than determine if you see well. They are a vital part of a person's overall health, and in the case of Rachel, may have saved her life.

"At 14 years-of-age, Rachel had yet to hit puberty," explained Tori Carnegie, Rachel's mother. "Concerned, we visited her GP, who advised that we would need to wait another two years before any testing could be done."

After two years and noticing significant degeneration of Rachel's vision along with other symptoms, her parents took her to see Dr. John Parks. Through discussion and evaluation, Dr. Parks identified that the Rachel's vision problem was connected to a much more serious problem - the likelihood of a pituitary tumour pressing on her optic nerve. Rachel was referred for an MRI, with the test confirming Dr. Parks' worst fear - a pituitary tumor four centimetres wide pressing up against Rachel's optic nerve. Rachel had surgery to remove the tumour that same week.

Rachel's father, Dennis Carnegie says; "If we waited any longer for a diagnosis, [Rachel's] pituitary gland would have been crushed, her optic nerve would have been severed. We would have even more medical problems right now if we would have waited."

According to John Parks, a Canadian Doctor of Optometry, "an eye exam not only assesses your vision, but can also be the first to identify a serious health condition. Sharing this message with Canadians is important, as it could help them to avoid the consequences of more serious diseases and intensive treatment down the road."

Doctors of Optometry diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and disorders affecting the eyes and the visual system. In addition to diagnosing eye diseases and conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and the need for a prescription, comprehensive eye exams can also identify general health conditions including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, eye tumours, and in the case of Rachel, a tumour in her brain.

Doctors of Optometry recommend children have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age, at least once between the ages of two and five and annually after starting school. Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should have an eye exam at least every two years, and adults over 65 should have an eye exam annually.

About Doctors of Optometry Canada

Doctors of Optometry are a single source for vision, eye-health and eyewear needs. Most Doctors of Optometry have earned a four-year Bachelor of Science degree or higher, followed by four years of professional study at a university-based school of optometry. Ongoing continuing education requirements ensure Doctors of Optometry remain current on eye health issues and technological advancements. Doctors of Optometry diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and disorders affecting the eyes and the visual system, and also assist in identifying general health conditions that are often first detected through an eye exam. Doctor of Optometry recommended treatments for patients can include eyeglasses, contact lenses, special low vision aids, eye coordination, exercises, drug therapies, or referral to appropriate specialists for advanced medical, surgical or laser treatments. For more information: visit

To watch the video related to this press release, please visit the following link:

Contact Information