General health conditions like diabetes are typically a matter for our primary care physician. This doctor monitors aspects of disease to prevent secondary problems from occurring. In the case of diabetes, there is a direct connection between general health and eye health. In particular, diabetes is a contributing cause for retinopathy, blurry vision, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that occurs as a result of chronically high blood glucose. Studies have demonstrated a correlation between excessive sugar in the blood and weakness in the blood vessels in the body. The eye contains numerous, tiny blood vessels. Here, weakness in vessel walls can allow fluid to leak into the eye. When this occurs, the fluid comes into contact with the retina, the structure at the back of the eye that receives light. The persistent contact with fluid damages the retina and decreases vision. In severe cases, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.
Statistics put diabetic retinopathy as one of the leading causes of blindness in our country. On the flip side of this bad news is a glimmer of hope. With prompt attention, diabetic eye disease can be treated in a way that halts the progression of vision loss. In some cases, treatment for diabetic retinopathy can reverse the damage that has already occurred. To achieve optimal treatment outcomes, it is necessary to consider diabetic eye exams an integral part of annual health evaluations.
What is a Diabetic Eye Exam?
When your eye doctor knows of your diabetes, they can add specific screenings into your routine eye exam. In addition to taking a medical and vision history, an eye doctor will also integrate the following into the diabetic eye exam:
- You will be asked to read a basic eye chart
- The retina at the back of your eye will be observed using an ophthalmoscope
- Eye drops may be administered to dilate (widen) your pupils
- Dilated pupils allow better observation of the retina using a slit lamp
- If warranted, the blood vessels in the retina may be observed with fluorescein angiography
- The lens and pressure of the eye will also be evaluated for signs of cataracts and glaucoma
Schedule Your Diabetic Eye Exam
If you have diabetes, your eye doctor needs to know. With careful monitoring and early detection, diabetic eye diseases are generally treatable. Call (352) 237-8400 to schedule a visit at Central Florida Eye Institute.