If you have diabetes, it is recommended to have an eye exam at least once per year to help protect your eyes from sight-threatening eye diseases. Here’s why:
How does Diabetes Affect the Body?
Most of the food you eat is broken down into glucose (blood sugar.). When the blood sugar in your body rises, it sends a signal to your pancreas to release insulin into your body’s cells for energy. Diabetes is a disease that occurs which prevents the pancreas from making enough insulin or from using the insulin it makes efficiently.
People diagnosed with diabetes can be at a higher risk of developing complications and diseases which affect the eyes.
These conditions include:
- Diabetic retinopathy is the primary cause of adult blindness. High blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the retina, where scarring can cause permanent vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy is also one of the most preventable causes of vision loss and blindness.
Early detection and treatment can prevent or delay blindness due to diabetic retinopathy in 90% of people with diabetes, but 50% or more of them don’t get their eyes examined or are diagnosed too late for effective treatment. People diagnosed with diabetes are also at a higher risk for other eye diseases, including glaucoma and cataracts.
To diagnose diabetic retinopathy, your ophthalmologist will perform a dilated eye exam.
- Macular edema is a condition that occurs in the center of the retina, known as the macula. The macula is a portion in the retina that helps produce clear, forward vision. When fluid builds up, the macula swells, and vision is distorted. People with macular edema may suffer blurry vision or significant vision loss. The fluid buildup in the macula is caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina. Blood vessels can be damaged by:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye surgery
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Inflammatory disease of the eye
Your optical professional will perform a comprehensive eye exam and look for retina abnormalities to diagnose macular edema.
If tests show you have diabetic retinopathy or macular edema, laser therapy or intravitreal injections can seal leaking blood vessels in the retina. Other treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs and surgery. Routine eye exams results in earlier treatment when necessary.
If you have questions about Diabetic Eye Exams and if it may be helpful to you, please call us today!