Diabetic Eye Exams
Diabetic Eye Disease
If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you are at risk of developing serious complications with your eye health and vision. Diabetes will affect your eyes if your blood sugar is too high, especially if the level isn’t controlled over time, and when your blood sugar is too high, it can damage the blood vessels in the back of the eyes which may leak fluid or cause swelling to occur.
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of diseases that can affect people with diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, diabetic macular edema, and glaucoma. Diabetic eye disease can damage the eyes and result in poor vision or blindness, and often there are no symptoms in the early stages. Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease, but the risk increases if blood sugar levels and/or blood pressure levels aren’t controlled.
The most common cause of vision loss and blindness in diabetics is diabetic retinopathy. This disease affects the blood vessels in retina, which is the light-sensitive layer in the back of the eye. In the early stages of the disease, there aren’t any obvious symptoms, but in the later stages, as the blood vessels start to bleed into the vitreous, which is a gel-like fluid that fills the eye, then dark, floating spots or streaks may occur in vision.
Your risk to develop diabetic retinopathy increases the longer you have diabetes.
Women with diabetes who get pregnant or develop diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) are also at high risk to develop diabetic retinopathy, so if you are pregnant and have diabetes, you need a diabetic eye exam as soon as possible.
Cataracts are a common part of aging, but if you are diabetic, they can happen at an earlier age. Cataracts cause the front part of your eyes to become cloudy and can make your vision blurry or hazy, cause colors to seem faded, reduce your night vision and increase your sensitivity to light. Over time, cataracts can lead to vision loss.
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic macular edema is characterized by a build-up of fluid and swelling in the macula, which is the part of the retina used to see clearly while driving, reading, and seeing faces. This disease can damage the vision in this part of the eye, and lead to either partial vision loss or blindness.
If you have diabetes, then you have an increased risk of developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. This disease is sometimes called “the silent thief of sight” because it can begin with little to no pain or symptoms, and the only way to catch it is through regular comprehensive eye exams.
Diabetic Eye Exam
If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, then you need a comprehensive diabetic eye exam at least once each year, and your doctor may recommend coming in for diabetic eye exams more often than that, based on your health history. Dr. Jonathan Davis and the Decatur Family Eye Care team will perform special tests as part of your diabetic eye exam to screen for signs of diabetic eye disease.
To schedule a diabetic eye exam at our office in Decatur, contact us today.