PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- You go to the eye doctor for a routine exam and find out you have more going on than just vision problems.

Things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, even diabetes.

Doctor Zarah Lasee says what she can see is more than meets the eye.

"Eye doctors are the only people looking inside the body when they do an examination. We're the only doctors who are able to do so because the jelly of the eye is clear," she said.

Patient Raquel Hawkins wasn't feeling her best.

She was having a variety of symptoms including migraines and red eyes.

"It got to a point where I was really having difficulty with my eye, like light sensitivity, a lot of trouble day to day," she explained.

After visits to three other doctors, it was her Dr. Lasee who finally gave her some answers.

"It's funny because once she was able to look at it and then proceed to ask me a few follow up questions, it just kind of put everything together," she said.

She was diagnosed with a condition caused by extreme inflammation.

"She hit the nail on the head where my last inflammatory panel was through the roof," Hawkins said.

The blood vessels a the back of the eye can show signs of diabetes, high cholesterol, Crohn's disease, even stress.

"The retina is looking like there's a little bit of inflammation, then there's a lot of inflammation and the vision deteriorates over time. The only way for them to get rid of it is for them to reduce their stress," she explained.

She says once she makes a diagnosis, she refers her patients to specialists for additional treatment.

Even though patients don't always like what they hear, most are happy to have some answers.

"It actually gives me a sense of ease because the traditional doctors that I go to...it's very hard to diagnose an inflammatory condition," said Hawkins.

Dr. Lasee says most private eye doctors have the equipment and training to detect these conditions.

Heidi Goitia is the traffic reporter and fill-in anchor for CBS 5 This Morning weekdays from 4:30-7am.
 
 


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