The Importance Of Diabetic Eye Exams

The Importance Of Diabetic Eye Exams

Although many people are aware of how diabetes affects blood sugar levels, not as many people are aware that this condition can also affect the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that develops in people who have diabetes and this condition can cause irreversible damage to the eyes. This condition can cause injury to the eye while also increasing a person’s risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts. One way to protect against this eye condition is to have regular diabetic eye exams to monitor eye health. Receiving these eye exams will help you and your optometrist to monitor the state of your ocular health while working to slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy if you are diagnosed.

Diabetic Eye Exams

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can develop in people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, as well as those with gestational diabetes, which is a form of temporary diabetes that develops during pregnancy. This eye condition affects the blood vessels within the eyes due to high blood sugar levels. When these blood vessels are damaged, it causes subsequent damage to the retina, which is a spot at the back of the eye that detects light and sends signals to the brain to create images. If a person has diabetic retinopathy, it can cause serious impairment to the eye and vision, including blurred vision, increased floaters, and loss of vision.

How Can Diabetic Eye Disease Be Diagnosed?
This diabetes complication often begins to develop without presenting symptoms. Because of this, the only way to catch this condition in its early stages is by having regular eye exams. If you are a person with diabetes, you are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and you should have annual eye exams, as well as additional eye exams if there are any sudden changes in your vision. At your eye exam, your optometrist will look at the blood vessels in your eyes as well as the health of your retina through a dilated eye exam. This will require the optometrist to use eye drops on you that will dilate the pupil (make the pupil large) so that the optometrist can see into and get accurate images of your inner eye. This is not a painful eye exam, however, it can temporarily make your eyes sensitive to light and may make vision slightly different from what you are used to. Because of this, you should schedule someone to drive you home from the eye exam.

Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Diabetic Retinopathy
To both reduce your risk of developing this condition and to control its progression if you are diagnosed, you need to:

  • Control your diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar under control will greatly help you to reduce the risk of damaging blood vessels in the eye.
  • Create a diabetes management plan. To help control your diabetes, discuss your condition with your family doctor and your optometrist. Both health care professionals will help you come up with a diabetic retinopathy management plan to help you manage different aspects of your diabetes.
  • Quit smoking. Tobacco use in any quantity has been shown to increase the risk of the development of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Have regular eye exams. When you have diabetes, whether or not diabetic retinopathy has developed, you need to take care of your eye health through regular eye exams. This will give your optometrist the ability to track the progression of your eye condition and monitor your eye health.


Receive A Diabetic Eye Exam From Specs In The City

Having diabetic retinopathy detected early and receiving subsequent treatment can reduce the risk of blindness from this eye condition by up to 95%. If you have diabetes or if you are pregnant, visit Specs in the City for a diabetic eye exam to ensure prolonged vision and eye health. At Specs in the City, our Calgary optometrists will work with you to develop a diabetic retinopathy management plan and we will work tirelessly to help you control your eye condition. To schedule an eye exam and take control of your eye health, contact Specs in the City at 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.



Q: What are other ways to keep my vision healthy in general?
A: Some ways to improve eye health include eating a healthy diet full of vitamins and nutrients and protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. To learn more about how to protect your eyes, read 5 Tips For Keeping Your Eyes Healthy.

Q: Is there anything I need to bring to an eye exam?
A: Once you’ve booked your appointment there are a few things you can bring to better help us ensure your eye care needs are met. They are:

  • All prescription glasses, sunglasses, or contact lenses you’re currently using
  • All eye drops you’re currently using
  • The medications or supplements you’re currently on
  • A detailed family history of serious medical conditions
  • Details surrounding your vision insurance or work benefits
  • Medical records surrounding any eye surgeries or injuries you’ve had

Q: Does managing my diabetes ensure the prevention of diabetic retinopathy?
A: No, while it may lower your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy or delay the condition’s onset to later in life, there is no guarantee that managing your diabetes will prevent this eye condition from developing. Even when diabetes is managed, diabetic retinopathy tends to develop in people who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for over 20 years. There are other health factors, such as lifestyle and genetics, that may also contribute to the development of this eye condition.

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