SAINT LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Going to the eye doctor is important to help keep your vision sharp. The eyes are also a unique opportunity to detect more serious issues.

“The eyes are one of the only places in your body where you can see both arteries and nerves working,” says Park Nicollet Ophthalmologist Dr. Jonathan Pribila.

Dr. Pribila says that gives eye doctors the chance to look for things that could be having a profound impact on your health.

“They can look for evidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, strokes, and a number of other life-threatening conditions,” he says.

Dr. Pribila says anyone under the age of 40 should be getting their eyes checked every three years. Between the ages of 40 and 60 you should be stopping by every two years, and over the age of 60 you should make it an annual thing.

If you've been to the eye doctor, you know you often walk out wearing sunglasses after your eyes are dilated. Although kind of a hassle, Dr. Pribila says it's an important step.

“We are giving you a medication that moves your iris out of the way,” he says. “It allows us to get an excellent view to your retina in the back of your eye, as well as your optic nerve. Those are basically the film that allows you to see.”

Dr. Pribila says that allows them to detect diseases in the eye and get the most accurate prescription for your glasses.

This story is part of our ongoing series called Real Men Wear Gowns, which is a campaign to get men to the doctor for preventative care.