What to Expect From Your Diabetic Eye Exam

What to Expect From Your Diabetic Eye Exam

Diabetes, type 1 and type 2, can take a toll on your body. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels, including those in your eyes. This puts you at risk for several eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy

Because of the wide-ranging effects of diabetes, it’s common for patients to have a team of health care providers to keep tabs on the various health conditions associated with the disease. The ophthalmologists at IC Laser Eye Care specialize in eye exams, including the special care you need as a diabetic. 

A diabetic eye exam covers extensive ground to ensure that your eyes function well while searching for early signs of damage to begin treatment before your vision is threatened. If you don’t have an eye care professional on your diabetes management team, contact us today. 

Why do diabetics need special eye care? 

Over 30 million Americans live with diabetes, each with an increased risk of vision deterioration and blindness. The good news is that early detection and treatment reduces the risk of vision loss by 95%. Diabetic eye exams are the primary means of detecting problems like cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy before they interfere with your sight. 

What to expect from your diabetic eye exam

Eye problems that affect diabetics are well-known, so your eye exam concentrates on signs of these conditions. A diabetic eye exam has many elements in common with conventional eye check-ups, with added concentration on the health of your retina. 

Vision test

The classic test with large and small letters is part of virtually every eye exam, helping your ophthalmologist get a picture of your visual acuity. The shape of the eye can change, depending on the level of control you have over your blood glucose levels. 

Glaucoma test

Another evaluation done during most eye exams tests for glaucoma, since the disease doesn’t usually cause any observable symptoms until it reaches an advanced phase. Regular testing is the only way to discover glaucoma in its early stages. 

Pupil dilation test

Observing the retina in detail is an important part of a diabetic eye exam, so we’ll give you drops that cause your pupil to open up widely. Your vision may blur, and you’ll be extremely sensitive to light for a couple of hours, as your pupils won’t be able to open and close to regulate the amount of light that enters your eyes as they usually do. 

During this time our ophthalmologist has a clear view of the retina, blood vessels at the back of the eye, and the optic nerve. Any damage caused by high blood glucose levels becomes easier to spot. You’ll need to arrange a ride home since you won’t be able to drive a car safely until your pupils return to normal. 

Fluorescein angiography

An advanced imaging test that provides detailed information on the blood vessels in your eye, fluorescein angiography uses a dye injected in your arm to make any damage more observable. This may not be necessary if the results from your pupil dilation are good. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is another imaging test that may be used. 

With three locations, in Philadelphia and Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and Hamilton, New Jersey, IC Laser Eye Care is conveniently located. Call or click today to schedule your diabetic eye exam. 

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