If you have diabetes, an annual eye exam is non-negotiable. There are several serious eye diseases which can progress without your knowledge until it’s too late to save your vision. If you have delayed an exam or if you were just diagnosed with diabetes, here is a guide to diabetic eye exams and what to expect.
Before The Exam
Because diabetes affects vision, it is crucial to get accurate results during the tests. Consequently, patients should check their blood sugar and be sure it is within the normal range before an exam. If focus is affected, the results may be faulty and you will get an inaccurate diagnosis.
Visual Acuity Test
This test looks at your focus and what you can see near and far. Hecht Eye Institute is looking for how clearly you see at distances one eye at a time. You will be asked to read the smallest letters you can see on a chart.
This will determine if your vision has changed since your last test and if you need a different prescription for your eyeglasses.
Hecht Eye Institute will administer dilating drops to enlarge your pupils. Once your pupils are fully dilated, the back of your eyes will be examined. The retina is an important part of a diabetic’s eyes as too much glucose can damage the tiny blood vessels which can leak blood or eventually obstruct blood flow to the retina. This damage can lead to diabetic retinopathy, however having regular eye exams can control and manage this situation.
It is recommended that someone newly diagnosed with diabetes have a dilated eye exam immediately. Since diabetes can occur without symptoms, it is possible damage to the retina has already occurred. It is important for Hecht Eye Institute to determine how much damage and begin treatment if needed.
Test For Glaucoma
Having retinopathy puts you at high risk to develop glaucoma, which is one of the main causes of blindness. This test will measure the pressure in your eyes. If the pressure is too high, it can be treated with medication.
Some Final Thoughts
Anyone with type 2 diabetes should have at least one fully-dilated eye exam each year. This helps Hecht Eye Institute identify any conditions in their early stages when they are easier to treat.
The number of eye exams you need each year will depend on the severity of the retinopathy.
It is essential to manage and control your diabetes and your blood pressure to prevent eye damage and other possible complications.