Enhanced Care for Patients with Diabetes
Eye exams are an essential part of your health care when you have diabetes. Your eyes provide a window into your overall health, allowing us to see signs of your blood sugar management and detect early warning signs of eye disease.
We encourage our patients with diabetes to have eye exams at least every year, though we’ll provide a custom exam schedule for patients as needed so we can help you protect your vision for a lifetime.
What to Expect from Your Diabetic Eye Exam
Along with testing your visual clarity and assessing your prescription, as we do in every comprehensive eye exam, we’ll also dilate your eyes and take detailed, non-invasive images inside your eyes.
This imaging includes optical coherence tomography, which takes a cross-section view of your retina, and fundus photography so we can see the interior structures of your eye. From these images, we can identify early signs of diabetic eye diseases before they cause symptoms or track progression in conditions that have already been diagnosed.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Because high blood sugar can damage blood vessels throughout the body—including the delicate ones in the eyes—people with diabetes are at a higher risk of certain eye conditions.
The good news is these conditions are absolutely not an inevitability. With good blood sugar management, a healthy lifestyle, and regular eye exams, you can lower your risk of diabetic eye disease.
Diabetic retinopathy is a sight-threatening disease that affects the delicate blood vessels in the retina. It’s caused by uncontrolled blood sugar over a long period of time that damages the eye’s blood vessels, causing them to bleed or leak fluid.
Diabetic retinopathy doesn’t typically show early symptoms. When it’s caught early through an eye exam, we can monitor it and help you to work with your doctor to manage your blood sugar. In later stages, treatment may include laser therapy, medicine injections, or surgery.
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema can occur as a result of diabetic retinopathy, typically in more advanced cases. It’s caused by a build-up of fluid in the macula, the part of the eye responsible for your central vision.
Symptoms of diabetic macular edema include blurry or wavy vision, but these may not be noticeable to you if they only affect one eye. The most common treatment for diabetic macular edema is the injection of medication into the eye.