Diabetes can be a serious condition for many of our patients if left unchecked. Because it’s one of the leading causes of new vision loss, regular checkups and monitoring visits are important. That’s particularly true when you have an increased risk of developing the disease.
How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes
High blood sugar levels damage the small vessels supplying blood to your retinas. Because a diabetic’s body cannot properly process blood glucose, it’s crucial to monitor any long-term complications in the blood vessels and nerves.
Over time, diabetes can develop into other disorders:
- Diabetic retinopathy
Damage Caused by Hypertension
This minor blood vessel damage can gradually lead to blocked blood flow to your retinas. The retina acts like a microphone for the information coming through your pupils: receiving, converting and transmitting all the light signals to the brain. So, no blood flow means your “microphone” isn’t “plugged in.”
However, your body tries to fix itself. It’ll grow new blood vessels despite having inadequate blood flow. This results in less healthy or effective blood vessels that sometimes leak or rupture, which can leave damaging scar tissue.
During our licensed optometrists’ <<comprehensive yearly eye exam>>, they use pupil dilation to better evaluate your overall health. Here are just a few ways they examine your eyes:
- Measuring tiny changes in blood flow to the eyes
- Checking the eye’s internal structures, like the retina and optic nerve
- Looking for any tears or perforations
What Our Diabetic Eye Exam Looks For
Our optometrists cover numerous health factors during a diabetic eye exam:
- Any blood vessel abnormalities
- Blood, fatty deposits or inflammation in the retina
- New blood vessel and/or scar tissue growth
- Bleeding in the eye’s normally clear vitreous humor
- Retinal detachment
- Optic nerve abnormalities
The dilation process is not painful. The dilation drops usually take 15 to 30 minutes to open the pupils. Side effects include light sensitivity and blurred vision that last about three to four hours.
Why Is a Diabetic Retinopathy Exam So Important?
Even if a patient doesn’t have obvious symptoms or signs, a licensed optometrist can easily diagnose eye and vision problems. Early detection means we can provide preventive treatment options.