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Diabetic Eye Exams

Yearly eye exams are especially important for patients with diabetes as they are at a higher risk of developing eye problems. Diabetes can damage blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye, leading to diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults. Patient with Diabetes are also at higher risk of developing glaucoma.

During an eye exam, the optometrist will check for signs of diabetic retinopathy, including:

  • Leaking blood vessels: Diabetes can cause the blood vessels in the retina to weaken and leak fluid, which can cause swelling in the macula, the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.

  • Abnormal blood vessels: Diabetes can also cause the growth of new blood vessels in the retina, which can bleed and cause vision loss.

  • Retinal detachment: Diabetic retinopathy can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye, which can lead to blindness.

The optometrist may use specialized equipment to take detailed photographs of the retina, and may use techniques like fundus photography, FAF, or optical coherence tomography to check for diabetic retinopathy.

Early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy is crucial to prevent vision loss. Treatment options may include laser therapy, injections, or surgery.

It's important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year or as often as your optometrist recommends based on your individual needs and the progress of the disease. It is also important to keep blood sugar levels well-controlled, and to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle to slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

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