Diabetic Eye Exams

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Diabetic Eyes Have a Greater Risk of Eye Disease

Diabetes increases your risk of a number of eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. In many cases, these diseases progress without symptoms, meaning many patients don’t realize they have eye disease until they have experienced vision loss. Diabetic eye exams require more specialized care to ensure the quality of your vision.

When to Book a Diabetic Eye Exam

If you are living with diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you have an eye exam at least once per year. You may need to visit the optometrist more frequently if your blood sugar levels aren’t stable, if you have developed eye disease, or otherwise recommended by your doctor. It’s important to visit regularly, as that allows your optometrist to detect slight changes in your vision and eye health from one visit to the next.

A Typical Diabetic Eye Exam

A diabetic eye exam will involve similar vision testing and eye health evaluation as a standard eye exam, but will also involve extra attention to the eye structures that could indicate eye disease.

In some cases, we may conduct a dilated eye exam to get an even better look at your retina and rule out eye disease and other potential problems. Diseases we look for include glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration, as well as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema.

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes. In the United States, it is the leading cause of blindness in adults and affects 7.7 million people. It’s caused by progressive damage to the blood vessels in the retina as a result of high blood sugar.

In the early stages, diabetic retinopathy will often have no symptoms. As the retina is damaged, some patients begin to notice spots and strings in their vision. Eventually, if diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it can cause significant vision loss and progress into diseases like diabetic macular edema.

Treatment is available when the disease is caught early enough during an eye exam, but unfortunately, 50% of patients are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective. Book your appointment today to protect yourself from vision damage.

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If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it can progress into diabetic macular edema. Almost 10% of people with diabetic retinopathy will find that this will lead to diabetic macular edema. Diabetic macular edema occurs when blood vessels in the retina are damaged, resulting in excess fluid in the macula.

As the fluid collects, some patients may notice blurry vision. If diabetic macular edema goes untreated, it can eventually lead to noticeable and permanent vision loss. When it is diagnosed early, however, it can be treated with medication, laser therapy, or surgery.

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