Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body is incapable of properly using and storing glucose, a type of sugar that is needed to produce energy and carry out other bodily functions. As a result, glucose accumulates, causing the blood sugar to exceed normal levels and resulting in a variety of complications. One area that is frequently affected by diabetes is the eyes. This is why diabetic eye exams are so important.
Without proper care, diabetes can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness. In fact, it is the number one cause of blindness amongst adults aged 20-74. Individuals who suffer from diabetes are also at a greater risk for other ocular conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts. These risks can all be reduced by committing to a comprehensive eye exam at least once per year. When we can check your eyes frequently, we can identify the signs of a potential problem early, before it has a chance to develop and worsen.
A diabetic eye exam is similar to a regular, comprehensive eye exam, except that it also involves Optomap Retinal Imaging and/or dilation of the eyes. When we dilate the eyes, the pupil becomes enlarged. This enables us to get a better look at the retina so we can inspect it for signs of retinopathy and other diabetes-related damage. It also includes a tonometry test, which involves a quick burst of air into the eye to measure fluid pressure. A higher level of pressure could be indicative of glaucoma.
While an annual eye exam is an important part of diabetes management, there are certain things you can and should be doing at home, in between visits, to manage your ocular health. Specifically, you should monitor yourself for certain symptoms that could be signs of a potential problem. These symptoms include:
If you notice any of these things, you shouldn’t wait until your annual appointment to come in. Give us a call and we’ll schedule you right away.
At Image Eyecare Optometry, we care about more than just your visual health. We care about your total wellness. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, or have a family history and are predisposed to the condition, contact our office. We can help develop a preventative vision care plan that’s right for you.