What is a Diabetic Eye Exam?

  • Posted on: Jul 15 2019
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Diabetes is a common health condition in which the body does not produce the necessary insulin hormone to regulate blood sugar. When sugar (glucose) levels remain consistently high or vary from high to low, a person becomes susceptible to an array or secondary health conditions. Those that can affect long-term vision include glaucoma, cataracts, blurry vision, and diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is a prominent concern that eye doctors have for their diabetic patients. This condition involves the tiny blood vessels on the retina at the back of the eye. Chronically high levels of blood glucose weaken the walls of these delicate vessels, allowing them to leak blood and other fluid into the retinal tissue. Over time, the damage caused to this structure diminishes eyesight. In fact, diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness among American adults.

What we have learned through research is that this doesn’t have to be. A person with diabetes can protect and preserve their eyesight. When detected early, diabetic retinopathy can be treated in a way that prevents blindness. In some cases, doctors can reverse the changes that diabetes has caused in the retina. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your eye doctor will become an integral part of your healthcare team.

Eye Exams for the Diabetic Patient

Regular eye exams are important for any person with diabetes. The eye doctor must be made aware of a diabetes diagnosis so each exam can observe vulnerable parts of the eye. During a diabetic eye exam, you can expect:

  • A general medical and vision history
  • Your doctor will have you read an eye chart
  • An ophthalmoscope will be used to observe the retina at the back of the eye
  • Eye drops may be administered to cause your pupils to dilate (widen)
  • Then, an instrument called a slit lamp will be used to view the retina more accurately
  • Fluorescein angiography may be performed to evaluate and photograph the blood vessels in the retina
  • The eyes will also be observed for signs of glaucoma and cataracts

Diabetic retinopathy is treatable when detected early. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, contact Roholt Vision Institute in Canfield, North Canton, or Alliance. We can help you understand how your health may affect your eyes and also how to manage the risks of diabetic eye disease.

Posted in: Diabetic Eye Care

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