Maintaining Healthy Vision in the Midst of Diabetes
Patients battling with diabetes have to constantly monitor their lifestyle choices in order to manage their disease. It affects so many aspects of their lives. Not the least of which is the health of their eyes. Due to the very nature of the pathophysiology of Diabetes, these patients are more susceptible to developing a number of health complications many of which occur in parts of the body that have small arteries and veins such as the kidney, the feet and most importantly the eyes. When Diabetes strikes against in the eyes it can rapidly cause multiple problems in the eye all of which that can a rob a person of their precious eyesight. Experts have termed these eye conditions diabetic eye disease.
If you have diabetes, it is extremely important that you have your eyes checked regularly as prescribed by your doctor. At minimum the American Optometric Association recommends a yearly eye exam that includes Retinal Imaging. Many of the complications of diabetic eye disease arise with no symptoms, putting your eyes at risk for vision impairment without warning. At your appointment, please let us know if you have been diagnosed with Diabetes, so we can be sure we provide all the necessary examinations and testing to protect your eyes and vision.
An Eye Exam for Patients with Diabetes
We have tailored an eye exam just for patients with Diabetes. It starts out just like a typical eye exam with chart readings, a neuro screening, and a biomicroscopy exam. These preliminary tests check your overall visual system and neurological system. After these initial tests, we move on to the portion that is dedicated to diabetes. Then we check your threshold color vision and your peripheral vision to ensure there are no early signs of dysfunction of the cells in your eye known as the photoreceptors, which allow you to see.
Finally, we do imaging of both the anterior part of the eye and the retina. Our state-of-the-art digital imaging devices are able to work through your pupil, to look at all structures of your eye, including the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels. We also perform a dilation of the eyes in order to see even the most peripheral areas of the retina with specialized diagnositic instruments.
Through these tests, we can better determine if you are at risk for any of the eye problems associated with diabetes that can silently rob a patient of their eyesight. If we find any early warning signs, our doctors can begin building a plan with you to best manage or prevent these conditions. Our doctors will also work with your primary care doctor and your endocrinologist to ensure your Diabetes is under control.
Preventing Diabetes in Your Eyes
Diabetes increases the risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration. In fact, your risk of glaucoma increases by 40%, while your risk for cataracts increases by 60%! Not only that, but you could develop diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, two conditions that could rob you of your sight. One of the best ways to prevent diabetic eye disease is to take a daily nutraceutical eye vitamin that can be prescribed to you by the doctors at the Advanced Vision Institute. Additionally, maintaining normal blood sugar levels through low carbohydrate diets and exercise can play a big role in combating the health implications of Diabetes. Finally, it is essential to have your eyes evaluated regularly in order to catch any eye problems early so they can be treated so that you can maintain clear vision throughout your lifetime.