Eye Exams for Diabetics: Why Are they Important?

Advice from Your Optometric Eye Care Center

An annual checkup at your optometric eye care center can help detect diabetes-related vision problems at the earliest stages when treatment is most effective. Diabetes increases the risk of many eye problems like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, macular edema and retinal detachments. Since symptoms do not often manifest in the early stages, many people may not even know that they have an eye problem.

Research shows that diabetic retinopathy, which damages the small blood vessels in your eye, is the main reason for decreased vision or blindness in Americans that are 20 to 74 years of age. As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney and Digestive Diseases, macular edema is another common cause of vision loss for people with diabetes. Diabetic eye exams at our optometric eye care center can help detect problems early and prevent them from getting worse.

Eye Care for Diabetes Patients  

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers important guidelines for eye health if you are a diabetic. They are:

  1. Control blood sugar levels: High sugar levels increase your risk of retinopathy and vision loss. It may also make your vision temporarily blurry and affect the results of a test for prescription eyeglasses.
  2. Control high blood pressure: A combination of diabetes and hypertension increases your risk of retinopathy, a serious condition that can lead to bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, or complete loss of vision.
  3. Quit smoking: Like diabetes, smoking also damages the tiny blood vessels in your eyes and poses the greatest threat to the part of the retina dedicated to your central vision. Damage to this part of the eye impacts your ability to read and see faces.
  4. Visit your eye care doctor at least once a year: You should have a dilated eye exam annually. Dilation means the doctor instills drops in your eyes that make your pupils larger. This enables the doctor to see more of the inside of the eye.  The drops cause blurred vision for reading and sensitivity to sunlight for a few hours afterwards.  After instilling the drops, the eye doctor will look through a special magnifying glass using a bright light to check for diabetic changes.  Although it can be inconvenient to have blurred vision for reading for a few hours after dilation, a dilated exam is critical to fully evaluating the health of the eye.  Without dilation, there are parts of the eye that cannot be evaluated, and no retinal camera or imaging replaces dilation.
  5. See your eye doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms:
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Straight lines do not seem straight, or you see spots or floaters
  • One or both eyes hurt
  • Trouble reading signs and books, or inability to see things in your peripheral vision
  • Your eyes turn red and remain red
  • You feel pressure in your eye

Comprehensive Eye Exams at Our Modern Optometric Eye Care Center

At SeaView Eyecare, our board-certified optometrists provide comprehensive eye care and  optical services. Using sophisticated diagnostic equipment, we have detected and treated vision problems and eye disease in thousands of adults and children.

If you or your child has eye pain or an eye infection, call our office right away. We provide emergency eye care after-hours for existing patients.  We are credentialed with most major insurance carriers and can help you optimize your insurance benefits.  For patients with diabetes, most medical insurance plans provide coverage for annual eye examinations and treatment.  This is in contrast to vision discount plans, which provide benefits for eyeglasses and contact lenses.  Our office accepts both types of insurance plans and can help you navigate their complexities. 

Call SeaView Eyecare at 561-790-7290 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our optometric eye care center, serving families in Lake Worth and Wellington in Palm Beach County.

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