People who have diabetes require regular eye examinations from an ophthalmologist. The exams involve a detailed evaluation of eye health. Diabetes can affect the retina and other parts of the eye.
Retinopathy is a common eye condition that affects people with diabetes. Annual eye exams can help detect early signs of serious eye disease that often causes vision loss. It is important to understand why it is important and what happens during a diabetic eye exam.
The diabetic exam will usually vary in scope and length depending on the patient’s condition. The eye doctor will determine the tests necessary to evaluate and manage the patient’s condition.
If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes, testing for you may be different from someone who has had the disease for years. The exam is used to detect signs of eye issues that are related to diabetes. If the doctor has previously detected signs of diabetic retinopathy, the eye exam will be more extensive.
Several tests are usually performed during diabetic eye examinations. The doctor will perform a visual acuity test during the examination. The test is used to determine the clarity of vision. Diabetes can result in changes in the eyes that can affect vision.
The doctor may also perform a refraction test to find out if the vision has reduced since the last examination. Other tests include pupil dilation, where the pupils are dilated using eye drops for better viewing, and a fundoscopy. The fundus, or back of the eyeball, may be examined using several procedures.
Diabetic eye exams can be used to check for eye health issues that are associated with diabetes. Some of the eye conditions that the testing will focus on are diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic macular edema.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the eye blood vessels begin to leak. If not treated, the leakage becomes worse, and it can lead to varying degrees of blindness. Diabetic macular edema occurs due to macula swelling, and it can cause blurry vision.
Adults who have type 1 diabetes require an eye exam five years after the diagnosis and annually after that. Those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should get an eye exam soon after the diagnosis.
When a woman with diabetes decides to get pregnant, she should schedule an eye exam before conceiving. After that, she should get an exam during the first three months of getting pregnant. The next exam should be one year after she has given birth.
After the initial diabetic eye exam, annual exams are recommended. The exams help monitor the health of the eyes. It is important to realize that eye exams for people with no health problems are different from diabetic eye exams. Routine eye exams may not be ideal for people with diabetes as these may not focus on their specific needs.
The eyes are usually the first organs to be affected when someone has diabetes. Visiting an eye specialist will help ensure that any eye problems are detected and treated early.
For more on diabetic eye exams, visit Eyecare Center Optometrist, PSC, at our offices in Richmond, Lexington, Beattyville, Irvine, or McKee, Kentucky. You can call (859) 208-2020, (859) 623-6643, (859) 272-2449, (606) 464-8148, (606) 726-9321, or (606) 287-8477 today to schedule an appointment.