At present, one in 10 Americans has diabetes – and the trend is continuing upwards. While routine comprehensive eye exams are important for diagnosing the early signs of diabetes, that doesn’t mean eye exams become insignificant after diagnosis!
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Houston eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.
Diabetes, especially when uncontrolled, can affect blood vessels and nerves throughout the entire body. Excess blood sugar can damage tiny blood vessels in the retina, which can lead to ocular inflammation, bleeding and devastating vision loss when left untreated.
The most common types of eye diseases associated with diabetes are:
- Diabetic retinopathy – small blood vessels in the retina weaken and sometimes leak blood
- Glaucoma – elevated pressure levels of fluid in the eye
- Cataracts – a clouding of the eye’s lens that blurs vision
Who needs diabetic eye exams?
If you have diabetes of any type, yearly diabetic eye exams are critical for preserving your healthy, sharp sight. That’s because damage to the eyes can be seen during a dilated eye exam way before vision loss occurs.
Sadly, surveys estimate that about 60% of people with diabetes are not vigilant about booking annual eye exams. As a result, early sight-threatening changes in the inner eye tissues are often missed. Only a diabetic eye exam can reliably detect or rule out the start of many dangerous eye conditions. In addition, when your eye doctor notices changes in your eye health as a result of diabetes, it can indicate that a change in your diabetes management regimen may be needed.
If you’ve been diagnosed with eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, diabetic eye exams will be done to monitor your condition to determine the most effective treatment program.
When is a diabetic eye exam needed immediately?
Besides visiting your eye doctor for annual eye exams, the following symptoms are a warning that you should schedule an urgent diabetic eye exam:
- Seeing red spots
- Seeing small black lines or spots that don’t glide away
- Seeing red tinted fog
- Sudden changes in your vision
- Taking longer than usual to adjust to darkness
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