Eye exams for patients with Diabetes

One fact many people might not be aware of is that there is a strong correlation between the systemic diagnosis of diabetes and ocular complications.  Diabetes has potential serious negative impact on the eyes.  In fact, diabetes is found to be the third most common cause of blindness after glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Picture of eyeball through retinal imaging

Eye complications caused by diabetes:

Many eye conditions will give warning signs like itching of the eyes, redness of the eyes, blurred vision, or even regular discharge from the eyes.  Diabetic related ocular disease usually doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages. Retinopathy which is one of the most serious eye conditions, typically does not give warning signs in the early stages. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common types of Retinopathy.  In many cases, by the time the diabetic eye disease is detected the damage has already gone far enough where it’s hard to reverse it.

Importance of Eye Exams for diabetic patients:

One of the best ways to handle diabetes is to go for regular eye exams. Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should see your optometrist more often. Most eye problems can be treated effectively when treated early. And how can you detect any eye problem early?  You can only properly detect eye problems through eye examination.

It is all about regular monitoring, early detection of retinal abnormalities, and prompt treatment. That is why eye exams are very important for diabetic patients.  If you have diabetes, you shouldn’t wait until you notice any problem with your eyes before going for eye examination, it may be too late.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended that patients with type 1 diabetes should have their first eye exam within the first 5 years after diagnosis even if the eyes seem to be in good condition. On the other hand, as recommended by ADA, patients with type 2 diabetes should go for a thorough eye examination immediately after diagnosis and should ensure they take the exam once every 12 months.

In addition, if there are complications or other conditions, then the eye exams should even be more regular than once in a year depending on the findings. Your doctor will let you know how often you need to go for eye examination based on the condition of your eyes.

This is because people suffering from diabetes are much more prone to retinopathy and other ocular complications.

Dilated Fundus Examination:

While there are different ways to examine  the retina, is Dilated Fundus Exam is still the gold standard for ruling out any retinal or macular complications.   The procedure involves the use of mydriatic eye drops to enlarge or dilate the pupil so that there will be a better view of the fundus of the eye.

After dilating the fundus, your optometrist will use fundoscopy, also known as ophthalmoscopy to check the interior of the eye. This makes for proper evaluation of the blood vessels, optic nerve head, retina, and other important parts of the eye. A fundus or retinal camera can also be used to detect, document and compare changes.

If you have diabetes, you should go for dilated fundus exam at least once every year, or sooner if you experience any symptoms or if recommended by your eye doctor.  If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and you have not had your eyes examined yet, contact one of our offices today and we will be happy to book you an appointment with one of our optometrists.