The Importance of an annual Diabetic Eye Exam

Diabetes can lead to serious eye disease, even blindness. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important for you to have an annual diabetic eye exam. After all, approximately 90 percent of diabetes-related blindness can be avoided if the disease is detected early enough to be treated successfully.

The most common type of diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, however, diabetes also has the potential to increase the risk of glaucoma and cataracts. By identifying health issues early on, your doctor will be better able to treat and help achieve a better outcome.

Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic retinopathy typically does not have any early warning signs. It can be detected only through a dilated eye examination. In a diabetic eye exam your doctor looks for:

  • Macular edema (swelling)
  • Leaking blood vessels
  • Pale, fatty deposits on the retina
  • Damaged nerve tissue
  • Any changes to the retinal blood vessels

Since these conditions cannot be checked at home, it’s important for you to seek the care of an ophthalmologist or optometrist who can evaluate you for the presence diabetic retinopathy.

What can you expect from diabetic eye exam?

The diabetic eye exam includes a dilation of your eyes so that the back of the eye can be evaluated for any evidence of disease. Dilating drops temporarily expand you pupil providing your doctor with a better window into the back of your eye. These drops temporarily increase the sensitivity to light. Your doctor usually has sunglasses to reduce any discomfort caused by the increased sensitivity to light. Your near vision will be affected temporarily, limiting your ability to focus at near distance. In most cases, your normal vision will return within 3 to 5 hours.

If you have any questions about this process or would like to schedule an annual diabetic eye exam, please contact our office at 978-256-5600.

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