Diabetic Eye Exams

Individuals living with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing certain eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy - a disease that causes vision loss. Contact us today to learn about your eye health management if you are living with diabetes.
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Diabetes is a disease that can wreak havoc on many parts of the body, including a patient's eyes. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing eye issues such as glaucoma and cataracts. However, the primary concern for eye health in people with diabetes is the development of diabetic retinopathy - the leading cause of vision loss among diabetics.

To help patients manage their eyes and vision health while living with diabetes, Bay Family Eye Care offers a variety of prevention, monitoring, and treatment services, all designed to help you see as clearly as possible while managing your condition. To discuss your eye care needs with us, simply schedule an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!

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FAQs on Diabetic Eye Exams:

Why are Specialized Diabetic Eye Exams So Important?

Patients living with diabetes are at a higher risk of suffering eye damage than patients living without diabetes. The excess glucose associated with the condition can damage the tiny vessels within the eyes themselves. As a result, diabetes increases one's risk of glaucoma and other eye problems. 

Most concerningly, however, diabetes can damage the small blood vessels located specifically in the retina (the back wall of the eyeball); this leads to a condition called diabetic retinopathy.

 

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that develops when the blood vessels in a patient’s retina become damaged. The retina is the light-sensitive portion of the back of the eye, which plays a vital role in helping us see clearly every day. And after initially becoming blurry and less focused, a patient’s vision can begin to disappear entirely due to the worsening levels of vessel damage.

This condition can affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Pregnancy, poor disease management, a history of smoking, and medical conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease can all increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Most importantly, the longer a patient lives with diabetes, the more likely they are to develop diabetic retinopathy and other vision issues. This is why adopting lifestyle changes and learning to manage diabetes is so important.

 

How Will I Know if I Have Diabetic Retinopathy?

As is so often the case when it comes to eye diseases, in its earliest stages diabetic retinopathy may cause no noticeable symptoms at all. Over time, worsening damage can cause floaters; dark or empty areas in your field of vision; blurry, poorly focused vision; and even potentially changes in colors.

Because the disease initially presents with no symptoms, however, regular dilated eye exams are the only way to ensure any issues involving diabetic eye problems are caught in a timely manner. Even if the doctor who takes care of your diabetes checks your eyes, you need a professional eye exam every 1 to 2 years (depending on your doctor’s recommendations). Only an eye doctor has equipment that can check the back of your eye for vessel damage.

 

What Can I Do To Prevent or Reduce the Effects of Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy can be both treated and prevented through lifestyle changes and diabetes management. This involves a patient controlling their blood sugar levels and making healthier choices overall. These include the following:

  • Attending and keeping regular appointments (both with a diabetes specialist and with an eye doctor) for full exams. (Never skip your exams if you have diabetes! Even if you feel fine, these exams allow doctors to check for minute issues that could grow bigger over time.)
  • Contacting a doctor right away if anything changes health-wise or vision-wise.
  • Quitting a smoking habit (or never starting to begin with).
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, and losing weight if necessary. (This helps improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.)
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Do you have questions or concerns regarding your own diabetes diagnosis? Our Bay Family Eye Care team is ready to meet you. Our exams and diabetes specific services will ensure that your vision is carefully monitored, and that your care is properly coordinated to ensure your future is clear. You can request an appointment online or call (410) 796-4555 today to set up your visit!

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