Diabetic eye exams can prevent blindness. Every patient with diabetes must get regular eye examinations. The eye disease caused by diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can cause anything from slight blurring of vision to blindness.
Diabetic Eye Exams
The risk of developing diabetic eye disease increases with elevated blood sugar and high blood pressure. A patient with newly diagnosed diabetes has probably had abnormally high blood sugar levels for years prior to the diagnosis. Thus, there may already be damage due to diabetes, most commonly in the retina which lines the inside of the back of the eye and acts like a film in a camera creating that images that result in vision. When diabetes damages the retina it’s called diabetic retinopathy.
Timing of Eye Exams
Patients who are newly diagnosed with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam within weeks. Thereafter, the frequency of exams depends upon the situation. A patient with poor control of diabetes and elevated blood pressure should be checked a couple of times per year. Someone with established diabetic retinopathy and poor diabetes control may need to be see as often as 4 times per year. Someone with good control of blood sugar and blood pressure only needs to be evaluated once a year.
Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
Treatment ranges from nothing if there is no threat to vision, to preventative treatments if
Prevent Severe Vision Loss
If eyes are not examined and diabetic retinopathy is not detected in early stages it becomes more dangerous to vision. It’s always better to catch a disease early and treat it to prevent vision loss. If diabetes has damaged the retina, called diabetic retinopathy, it is better to detect this and treat it early, when treatments are more effective.
Who Gets Diabetic Retinopathy?
Not everyone gets diabetic retinopathy. Patients who control their blood sugar levels and maintain normal blood pressures with diet and medications have a much lower chance of developing diabetic retinopathy. Also, if you have diabetic retinopathy you can prevent it from getting worse by keeping your blood sugar levels near the normal range and avoiding high blood pressure.
Remember, diabetes is not a disease. It’s a way of life.