Diabetes can be a very debilitating disease. In addition to advanced susceptibility to infections, nerve damage (neuropathy) and organ failure, diabetics have higher chances of developing eye or vision problems. This happens when sugar that is not processed by the pancreas roam free in the body, eventually rupturing the tiny blood vessels in the retina.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most prevalent of these eye defaults. Patients could also have Glaucoma, cataracts, and many other eye disorders. These vision abnormalities can cause:
- Fuzzy vision
- Difficulty seeing well at night
- Seeing black, floating dots
If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, it will deteriorate your vision over time. Continuous damage will eventually lead to blindness.
If you are a diabetic patient, an annual eye exam by a doctor is recommended (ophthalmologist or optometrist). Take it further by visiting an optometrist who specializes in diabetic eye care.
Tests and exams will be carried out to conclude the effect of diabetes on your vision; some of these tests include:
- Dilating your pupils to see the entire retina. An eye doctor only performs this examination.
- The dilated eye diagnosis may be replaced in some cases with specific images of your retina. Digital retinal photography is the term for this technique.
Depending on the findings of your eye exam and how well your blood sugar is controlled, your eye doctor may urge you to visit more often than once a year
Diabetes Eye Health Exam Breakdown
An optometrist (a medical expert specializing in diagnosing and treating eye disorders) or an ophthalmologist performs the diabetes eye health examination (a trained surgical doctor and advanced treatment of eye diseases). A referral by your physician is not required to consult an optometrist, but it is necessary to see an ophthalmologist.
The eyes will be dilated during a diabetes eye health exam. This is done so that the optometrist or ophthalmologist can see the retina at the back of the eyeball clearly while your eyes are dilated.
You’ll require transportation home after the exam, after your eyes have become dilated, you won’t be able to drive for a few hours.
During a routine eye exam, your eyes are measured to determine how well you see. If you have poor vision, you may be given a prescription for corrective lenses.
If you develop any of the following symptoms, especially if you have diabetes, contact the doctor right away:
- Eye pain
- Vision is foggy or fuzzy, and you can’t focus
- Spots floating in your eyes
- See shadows
- Can’t see things on the side of your range of vision
American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Preferred practice pattern guidelines. Diabetic retinopathy PPP 2019. www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/diabetic-retinopathy-ppp.
American Diabetes Association. 11. Microvascular complications and foot care: standards of medical care in diabetes-2020. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31862754/.