We see the heart in your eyes.

Research points to links between cardiovascular disease and eye diseases.Vision problems may sometimes be the only symptom.

To the average person, vision loss and clogged arteries would seem to have little in common. But researchers are discovering that that's not the case. Vision problems may sometimes be the only symptom a person has of a serious cardiovascular condition.

Examining the eyes is an easy way for doctors to have a look at the vascular system, the network of blood vessels in the body, which includes the arteries and veins. It's very rare for a vascular problem in other parts of the body to not be seen in the blood vessels within the eyes. At Merivale Vision Care, every full examination includes a detailed look at the vessels in the eye, and with our new scanning laser ophthalmoscope, a precise image of these vessels can be analyzed, and saved for future reference.

Research also points to links between cardiovascular disease and eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, retinopathy, transient ischemic attacks, and branch retinal vein occlusion, among others.

The good news is that lifestyle changes you make to protect your heart could also help protect your vision from AMD:

1. Treat high blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk for AMD.

2. Manage cholesterol. Unhealthy cholesterol levels are linked to AMD.

3. Stop smoking. Smokers are at greater risk for developing AMD.

4. Lose weight. Excess weight could increase your risk for AMD.

5. Know your family history. A family history of vision loss or heart disease, or both, should prompt you to be vigilant about both eye and heart health.

6. Eat a healthy diet. The National Eye Institute recommends eating plenty of leafy greens and fish as part of a balanced diet.The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada’s largest and foremost heart health centre dedicated to understanding, treating, and preventing heart disease. Like Merivale Vision Care, the Ottawa Heart Institute is dedicated to delivering high tech care with a personal touch. While MVC is celebrating 30 years in the community the OHI recently celebrated 40 years of heart health care.

Call now to book an appointment to have your retinal blood vessels checked as part of a comprehensive vision evaluation. From February 1st to 14th $5 from every pair of glasses sold will be donated to the Ottawa Heart Institute, and any donations made by pateints will be matched dollar for dollar by Merivale Vision Care.

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