Thorough, Comprehensive Eye Care for Diabetic Patients
Diabetes can lead to a number of debilitating conditions if left unchecked, not the least of which is blindness. Eye exams should be a central part of any diabetic person’s health routine. These exams allow us to monitor overall eye health and check for any signs of diabetic eye disease.
Diabetic Eye Exams
An eye exam for a patient with diabetes is slightly different from a standard adult’s eye exam. Because diabetic patients are at a significantly higher risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and other serious eye issues, we have to be even more thorough than normal when looking for any irregularities.
Often when doing an exam on a diabetic patient, we’ll use dilating drops. This opens up the pupil, giving the widest possible window through which to inspect the eye.
Bluebird Vision + Wellness has also invested in cutting edge diagnostic equipment. Through our amazing technology, we can detect important indications of disease or note changes in your eye sooner and more accurately than ever before.
How Often Should I Have an Eye Exam?
Diabetic patients should have an eye exam at least once a year. Because diabetes puts you at such a high risk of diseases and eye conditions, we need to closely monitor your eye health. The more regularly you see us, the more effectively we can help you take care of your eyes.
What is Diabetic Eye Disease?
For the most part, the term diabetic eye disease refers to two serious conditions: diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (or DME). More generally speaking, diabetic eye disease includes any eye condition that may develop as a result of diabetes, including glaucoma and cataracts.
Years of elevated blood glucose levels can cause serious damage to the blood vessels in the retina. The damaged blood vessels in the retina can cause bleeding, swelling, and a lack of blood flow and oxygen (ischemia) to the tissue. This can result in shadowy or spotty vision, and eventually could lead to total blindness if left untreated.
Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic Macular Edema or DME sometimes occurs when blood vessels in the retina have been damaged due to diabetes. These blood vessels can leak fluid into the retina, causing swelling. As the retina swells it can obscure the macula, the small light sensitive area of the retina, affecting the clarity and color intensity of your vision.
Treating Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic Retinopathy and DME can be treated, but only if they’re caught early enough, which is why it’s so important to stay up to date with eye exams.
One method used to treat DME is called a vitrectomy. A doctor removes the vitreous (the gel-like fluid inside your eye) and all the blood that has leaked into it. They’ll then replace it with a saline solution, allowing light to meet your macula without obstruction. Other treatments may include laser treatments and/or injections to the eye.