JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Following Arizona Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis, a local ophthalmologist is urging people to get regular eye exams because they can detect a number of other ailments.

“There are a number of medical disorders that can have manifestations in the eyes,” said Dr. Frank Bowden, medical director of Bowden Eye and Associates in Jacksonville.

For example, Bowden said swelling around the eye muscles could indicate thyroid disease and dry eyes could be clues of an autoimmune disorder like Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

“Often times, with high blood pressure, we can see narrowing of some of the retinal arteries,” Bowden said.

But McCain’s diagnosis of glioblastoma struck a nerve to the tight-knit medical group.

"It was basically like flooding of emotions of the same type that we had when we learned of Dr. Lima’s disorder,” Bowden said.

Dr. Breno Lima, a colleague, passed away from the same cancer in May. A memorial is scheduled at the practice’s main office next week.

“It just kind of brings to focus how fragile our bodies are,” Bowden said.