WASHINGTON, D.C.– Having your eyes examined not only can prevent blindness, it can save your life. That is the message of three Howard University Hospital physicians who this week will be discussing how eye exams can ward off stroke, heart attacks and other health concerns.

Dr. Robert A. Copeland Jr., chief of ophthalmology at Howard University Hospital; Dr. Bryan Curry, a cardiologist, and Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, a physician who specializes in infectious diseases, will discuss peering into your health status through your eyes. 

They will speak from 1 to 4 p.m., Feb. 12, at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St., N.W., as part of the library’s Black History Month celebration.

Additionally, nutritionist Janet Unonu will speak and conduct a workshop on “Food as Medicine” during the presentation, which is also being sponsored by the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington.

The doctors will demonstrate how through careful examination of the retina, they can view small changes in the blood vessels in the back of the eye, which can indicate more serious disease. Research is showing that the type and severity of changes in the retina may indicate signs of coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetic retinopathy and other health concerns.

“This is really important information,” Copeland said in a press statement. “We can now look into your overall health by looking into your eyes.  And lots of time we as ophthalmologist find problems before patients’ primary care physicians do.”

Recent advancements, such as digital retinal imaging, allow eye doctors to quickly and painlessly detect and monitor blood flow in the retina, which can indicate other health concerns.

Free workshops, exhibits, adult vision screenings and free health screenings, including blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and body mass index will be available during the event.

For more information or special requests, call 202-727-2142.