Diabetes isn’t just a disease that affects your blood sugar levels. It can profoundly affect your eyes, as well as other parts of your body. The risk of glaucoma and cataracts is higher in people with diabetes, but the primary diabetic concern for vision is retinopathy. Long-term diabetics and diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugars are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina, possibly leading to a partial loss of vision or total blindness. Regular eye exams for diabetic patients is critical, as their vision will become blurry and begin to disappear as untreated diabetic retinopathy progresses.
Early detection and treatment are the best prevention of diabetic-related eye problems. Diabetic eye examinations include pupil dilation to allow the doctor to see inside the eye and all the way to the back.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the first diabetic eye examination to be five years after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetics should have an earlier exam, shortly after diagnosis, as type 2 diabetes can go undetected and untreated for many years. After such a prolonged period of time, retinopathy may already be an issue. Whether type 1 or type 2, annual eye exams should continue after the first one.
Albright Eyecarewants to preserve the eye health and vision of all diabetic patients.