Diabetic Eye Exams

Diabetes & Eye Disease

Diabetes is a systemic disease that impacts how your body processes glucose (sugar). When there is too much glucose in your bloodstream, it can cause complications with your heart, teeth, and eyes. Diabetes increases your chance of developing eye diseases, including:

  • Diabetic retinopathy – Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in your retina become damaged or blocked due to higher amounts of sugar in your bloodstream. This can cause the vessels to leak or bulge, permanently damaging your vision.
  • Open-angle glaucoma – Open-angle glaucoma is one of the most common eye diseases, and the chances of developing this disease double for patients with diabetes.
  • Diabetic macular edema – Diabetic macular edema (DME) forms when diabetic retinopathy is not addressed. When the blood vessels in the retina swell and leak, they can cause the macula to swell as well. This swelling can severely damage the macula, causing blindness.

Diabetes can also increase your risk of developing other conditions that can compromise your vision, such as cataracts.

Diabetic Eye Exam

Diabetes can be a life-changing diagnosis. Not only can this condition affect different aspects of your overall health, but it can also increase your risk for various eye diseases and other serious ocular conditions. Because of this, the CDC and a variety of reputable optometric resources all recommend patients with diabetes to have their eyes examined annually.

Eye exams can detect signs of diabetes, even if you are unaware that you may have the disease. During your diabetic eye exam, we’ll thoroughly check your eyes for signs of disease or other potential problems using a variety of tools and techniques. Some of the tools we’ll use may include:

A fundus camera takes detailed color photographs of the interior of your eye, allowing the optometrist to examine your optic disc, macula, retina, and vascular system. With these images, any signs of diabetic retinopathy and DME can be detected.

An Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) captures cross-sectional images using light. The health of the vascular system behind your retina can then be assessed for any signs of diabetic retinopathy and DME.

A visual field test reveals the width of your field of view when focused on a central point. This test can help determine if eye disease has produced any blind spots in your vision.

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