The Importance Of Diabetic Eye Exams For People With Diabetes

The Importance Of Diabetic Eye Exams For People With Diabetes

Glucose, or blood sugar, is an important part of regular body function since it gives us energy. But when blood sugar levels are too high for prolonged periods, this can cause damage throughout the body. When blood sugar levels are unregulated either because the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or because it doesn’t use it properly, this is called diabetes. While some people are born with diabetes (type 1) and likely received a diagnosis when they were young, other people can develop diabetes (type 2) and may not know they have it. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you are at risk of developing an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy and you need regular diabetic eye exams to maintain your vision and eye health.

What Are Diabetic Eye Exams And How Can They Help?

Diabetic Retinopathy
Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. The condition results from high levels of blood sugar that cause damage to the delicate blood vessels within the eye. Because of this damage, new, abnormal blood vessels can develop and blood vessels can leak, causing intraocular damage. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blurry vision and, if left untreated, can result in blindness. As this condition develops, it will not cause pain or other noticeable symptoms, which is why diabetic eye exams are crucial for people with diabetes.

Monitoring Eye Health
If you have diabetes, you need to monitor your eye health for your whole life. Managing your diabetes is a great way to lower your risk for diabetic retinopathy, but just because your diabetes is managed doesn’t mean that you will not develop this condition. People who already have diabetic retinopathy need to have this condition monitored regularly to ensure that the condition is not worsening. Monitoring your diabetes is the main way to protect yourself against vision loss caused by diabetes.

Diabetes Management
Although your optometrist will not create a diabetes management plan alone, they can be a highly valuable resource. Your optometrist and primary care physician will work together to create a diabetes management plan to ensure your overall well-being and your eye health. These health professionals will explain any risk factors that can affect your diabetes outside of your diet (for example, pregnancy can alter diabetes), as well as what factors help to regulate blood sugar. They will give you lifestyle tips to help you prevent the development (or further development) of diabetic retinopathy, such as helping you understand healthy eating and setting health goals, as well as how to monitor and control your blood sugar.
 

Protect Your Vision With Diabetic Eye Exams

If you have diabetes, you need regular eye exams to ensure that you are not developing diabetic retinopathy. By the time symptoms do develop, it can be too late to save your vision. At Sunridge Eye Clinic in Calgary, our staff will ensure that patients with diabetes are assessed for diabetic retinopathy, as well as for other common eye conditions. Our staff works to preserve your vision and foster an understanding of eye health, and we will work with you to prevent the development or worsening of diabetic retinopathy so that you can maintain your vision. For diabetic eye exams from a Calgary optometrist, contact Sunridge Eye Clinic at 1-403-280-7518 or fill out the online contact form.
 

FAQ

Q: Can my vision be restored if I lose it to diabetic retinopathy?
A: Unfortunately it cannot. However, treatments are available to help slow down the progression of the disease such as laser eye treatments, prescription lenses, and eye injections.

Q: How long does a diabetic retinal exam take?
A: The length of the examination will depend on the tests your optometrist uses. Typically the examination will last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, about as long as a regular comprehensive eye exam.

Q: How often should a person diagnosed with diabetes visit their optometrist?
A: The Canadian Association Of Optometry recommends those diagnosed with diabetes visit their optometrist once per year.


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