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Eye Exams for Diabetic Patients: Why They Are Important

By David Gross on August 31, 2016


A man undergoing an eye examThe team at Deen-Gross Eye Centers has been helping the people of Merrillville see clearer and lead fulfilling lives thanks to the latest in vision care techniques and technology. Our commitment to state-of-the-art eye care means using advanced diagnostic tools as well as tried and true methods to diagnose conditions, treat problems, and, whenever possible, prevent issues from arising.

With that in mind, we wanted to consider regular eye exams for patients with diabetes. Regular screenings mean early detection of problems and better eyesight and eye health in the long run.

Vision Problems Associated with Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common eye problems experienced by people with diabetes. This condition results in damage to the blood vessels located in the retina. If left untreated, the mild vision problems linked to early stages of the disease can lead to significant vision loss and even blindness.

In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetics run a greater risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma, both of which can result in vision problems as well as total loss of vision. In the case of glaucoma, the vision loss is irreversible.

What to Expect During This Eye Exam

During an eye exam, patients can expect some of the following tests:

  • Visual Acuity Test – This test examines the eye's ability to focus on nearby and distant objects.

  • Slip Lamp Exam – Slit lamp exams allow eye doctors to examine the retina and other structures at the back of the eyes.

  • Gonioscopy – This type of test helps examine drainage and internal eye pressure, which is important for detecting glaucoma.

  • Tonometry – This type of test directly measures the pressure within the eyes. It is also important for detecting glaucoma.

  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) – This exam helps doctors check the fluids in your eyes.

  • Fundus Photography – This advanced form of digital photography produces images of the retina.

  • Fluorescein Angiogram – Using special dyes and imaging technology, this test will allow doctors to examine the blood vessels of the retina.

How Long Will a Full Eye Examination Take?

While it can vary from patient to patient, a total eye exam can take up to 2.5 hours. This is worth it given how early detection and early treatment can save your vision in the long run.

How Often Should Diabetics Undergo Eye Exams?

Given the increased risks of various eye problems, it's important that people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes undergo an eye exam at least once a year. This will allow for early detection of various vision problems, which in turn means mitigating any vision loss that may be associated with these problems.

Health Tips for People with Diabetes

While our eye care specialists can help, there's a lot you can do on your own to improve your health and prevent vision problems. Consider the following tips:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control
  • Manage your blood pressure and avoid hypertension
  • Quit smoking and the use of tobacco products
  • Wear sunglasses whenever you're out in the sun
  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet

Learn More About Advanced Eye Care and Screenings

To schedule an eye exam and to learn more about your many treatment options available, be sure to contact our advanced eye care center today. The vision experts at Deen-Gross Eye Centers will work with you to help ensure great vision that lasts.

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