More Than Meets the Eye: Oral Health, Eye Health, and Overall Health

Published 10/01/2021

An estimated 12 million Americans over age 40 live with some type of visual impairment, a number that is projected to increase as the population ages. And that number, many of those patients, will deal with health issues beyond the eye.

To start, visual impairments have been linked with diminished oral health. Systemic causes of visual impairment, such as diabetes and heart disease, are also associated with poor oral health outcomes in addition to compromising overall health. Knowledge of these links is key for clinicians to diagnose, educate, and treat high-risk individuals.

This visual report from CareQuest Institute for Oral Health reviews the links between oral health, eye health, and overall health. Key points include:

  • Periodontal disease is associated with increased risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Patients with diabetes have a significantly increased risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Disabled and aging populations are more predisposed to oral issues and ocular diseases.

The visual report also includes recommendations for clinicians and policymakers to meet this growing public health need.

You may also be interested in:

  • Dental Data Exchange: HL7® Implementation Guides, a publication that is designed to facilitate care coordination and create best practices for electronic exchange of patient data between dental and medical professionals. 
  • Impacts Beyond the Mouth, an infographic that highlights several examples of why oral health is about much more than a smile.
  • The Wicked Problem of the Oral Health Care System, a special edition of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry that outlines how Health IT systems need to be interoperable and coordinated to allow sharing of health records across all disciplines and providers to coordinate care.