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Diabetic Eye Physicals

Unique Eye Care Needs

Managing diabetes effectively can be challenging but taking care of your eyes does not have to be. And while diabetes can cause serious conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (the leading cause of blindness in the working-age population), it can be monitored with annual, comprehensive, medically-directed diabetic eye physical and treated when appropriate to maintain the highest level of visual performance.

It is important that patients with diabetes have a comprehensive diabetes-specific eye exam at least once per year.

How Does Diabetic Retinopathy Develop?

The back of your eye is covered with several thin layers of tissue. These tissues are called the retina, and they’re responsible for detecting light. Your retina is full of small and delicate blood vessels. Over the years, high or irregular blood sugar levels can damage these blood vessels. After a while, this damage leads to bleeding and possibly scar tissue, which can permanently damage your vision.

Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood sugar levels are not managed effectively, damaging the blood vessels in your retina and prompting them to leak fluid. Your body tries to replace these damaged blood vessels by growing new ones. However, the new blood vessels are often irregular and weak. When they become damaged, they can very easily leak which leads to scar tissue, which, in turn, limits your vision.

When diabetic retinopathy becomes particularly severe, it may develop into diabetic macular edema. As the blood vessels in the retina continue to bleed, the retina starts to swell. Eventually, the retina can become so swollen that it obscures the macula, which is a small area of the retina responsible for your central vision, your ability to read, recognize faces, and notice fine details. Any damage to your macula can have a significant impact on your vision.

“Optometrists understand that thinking about eye health can be frightening for patients with diabetes. We want to help alleviate that anxiety. With a regular schedule of diabetic eye exams, we can track and maintain your eye health and detect potential problems before they can compromise your eye health or vision.”

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

For the most part, early to moderate diabetic retinopathy is asymptomatic; you may not notice any symptoms until you have already lost a significant portion of your vision. However, more noticeable symptoms include:

  • Dark or blank spots in your vision
  • Blurriness
  • Inconsistent vision
  • Changes in color vision
  • Floating “spots” or “strings”

Medical Optometry America Best Practice

  • Annual Diabetic Eye Exams (mandatory for most insurances)
  • Nutritional Supplementation
  • Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Treatment for Diabetic Macular Edema

Specialty Care Services

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