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Diabetic Eye Disease Screenings

Diabetes causes high glucose (blood sugar) levels in the body due to a defect in insulin function and/or production. Insulin, a hormone that is released by your pancreas, allows sugar to go from your blood into your cells. If the cells aren’t using insulin well or if your body is unable to make enough or any insulin, sugar builds up in the blood. Unfortunately, people with diabetes may also be at risk of diabetic eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when there is damage to the blood vessels in your retina caused by high blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, along with regular exams from your medical provider, it is critical that you also schedule routine exams with your optometrist in Columbia, SC.

Woman getting an Diabetic Eye Disease Screenings.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Detected?

Your optometrist in Columbia will do a comprehensive eye examination that includes a dilated eye exam. During this exam, your optometrist can detect diabetic retinopathy. For this type of exam, drops are placed in your eyes in order to dilate your pupils, which will allow your optometrist to have a better view of your eyes. You will need another driver to go with you to the examination because the drops may cause you to temporarily have blurred vision until they wear off, which may take several hours.

What are the Different Diabetic Eye Diseases?

Any form of diabetic eye disease has the potential to cause severe loss of vision and blindness. Although diabetic retinopathy is the most common type of eye disease related to diabetes, there is a risk of other diabetic eye diseases as well, including:

  • Diabetic macular edema - which is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy; diabetic macular edema also known as DME, is swelling in an area of your retina called the macula.
  • Cataracts - which is a clouding of the eye’s lens is also a risk for those with diabetes. Adults with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts than those without diabetes. Cataracts also tend to develop at an earlier age in those with diabetes.
  • Glaucoma - a group of diseases that damage your eye’s optic nerve, is also common in people with diabetes.

Diabetic Eye Exams

When visiting your optometrist in Colombia SC there are a variety of eye exams and tests that the optometrist may suggest, including:

  • Visual acuity testing which measures your eye’s ability to focus and see details at far and near distances. This test can help to detect vision loss as well as other eye problems.
  • Ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp examination allows your optometrist to see the back of your eye and the other structures within your eye. It is often used to detect clouding of the lens (cataract) and changes in your retina.
  • Gonioscopy is used to determine whether the drainage angle (the area where fluid drains out of your eye) is open or closed. Your optometrist will generally do this test if they think you may have glaucoma, which is a common diabetic eye disease.
  • Tonometry is a test that measures the pressure inside your eye (intraocular pressure). It is used to help detect glaucoma and diabetes can significantly increase your risk of glaucoma.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is essential that you schedule an eye examination with your optometrist as soon as possible. After your initial examination, your optometrist will recommend the frequency of future eye exams. When preparing for your eye exam it is beneficial to write out a brief summary to take with you. For example, include when you were diagnosed with diabetes, the medications you are taking and a few of your recent averages for blood sugar levels. It is important to keep in mind that early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic related eye diseases, can help prevent vision loss.

Contact Apex Eyecare to Schedule Your Comprehensive Eye Exam Today at (803) 741-7177.