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Diabetes and Eye Exams

Individuals with diabetes are generally accustomed to regular insulin injections, a strict diet or both.  But regular eye examinations are also critical for diabetic patients given that diabetes is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States and abroad.

Diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in your retina or the back of your eye. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy.  Some people with this disease experience swelling and fluid leaking from the blood vessels into the macula of the eye—the part of the retina responsible for sharp vision. This process is known as diabetic macular edema.

Other people with diabetic retinopathy will have new blood vessels form on the surface of the retina. Both of these changes can lead to partial vision loss or complete blindness.

One major problem for patients with diabetic eye disease is that often no symptoms appear until the disease reaches an advanced stage. However, it can be detected early through a dilated eye exam.  In fact, many times individuals with diabetes don’t realize they have it until it is diagnosed during their comprehensive eye exams.

Through early detection of diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases, several treatment options can be offered to patients.  If you have eye problems because of diabetes, you will likely see your eye doctor more often. You may need special treatment to prevent your eye problems from becoming worse.