A diabetic person knows they’re at risk for more health complications than someone without diabetes. And for the most part, diabetics take the necessary steps to look after themselves. But many people forget about taking extra care of their eyes.
Diabetic eye disease is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of eye health complications to which diabetics are particularly prone. Many of these conditions are asymptomatic, leaving the patient completely unaware their eyesight is in jeopardy until it’s too late.
By having a diabetic eye exam every year, you allow doctors to screen for and monitor the progression of diabetic eye disease. Even if your regular doctor checks your eyes, only a dilated retinal exam can thoroughly explore the health and condition of your eyes.
The most common eye disease associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when high blood glucose levels cause retinal blood vessels to leak. These leaks distort vision, and can cause scarring on the retina.
Diabetic retinopathy has no outright cure. However, if the disease is detected before the retina sustains significant damage, there are treatments that can help prevent vision loss and keep the condition from progressing further. Some laser treatments have proved effective in treating diabetic retinopathy.
Like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma is asymptomatic, making eye exams your best bet for detection. Patients with diabetes are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma than patients without. Read more about glaucoma.
Your eye exam will start very much the same way as any other eye exam; we’ll have you read some charts, and check your acuity, eye teaming, and peripheral vision.
After the preliminary tests, we will give you some eye drops to dilate your pupils and give us a better view of the interior of your eye. You may feel a slight stinging in your eye for a moment, and also experience a metallic taste. These reactions are normal and temporary.
We’ll use our amazingly high tech Optos California to examine your retina, searching for any signs of damage or disease. We’ll inspect your optic nerve and the blood vessels in your eye, and we might even use our Fundus camera to take photos of your eye’s interior for further inspection.
Come see us for yourself. We’re located Kelowna’s Pandosy Village District, across from Raymer Elementary School.