According to a 2017 report from the CDC, 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes (7.2 million undiagnosed) and 84.1 million adults aged 18 years or older have prediabetes. It is considered an epidemic and is a leading cause of death in the U.S.
How does diabetes affect my eyes?
1) A person with fluctuating blood sugar levels can experience fluctuating vision. This is because fluid accumulates in the lens inside the eye, which causes blurry vision until the blood sugar is controlled.
2) Diabetes also damages the blood vessels in the retina, which is the lining in the back of the eye. Blood and fluid can leak from the damaged vessels, leading to swelling and eventually vision loss if left untreated. This is called diabetic retinopathy.
How is the retina examined?
For a complete retinal examination, eye drops are used to dilate the pupil to allow the doctor to have a full view. If a patient is unable to undergo dilation, Optos can take a panoramic photo of the retina.
How often should I have a diabetic eye exam?
Annual eye exams are recommended for diabetic patients. A patient with ocular findings can expect to be followed more closely. Here is more information on diabetes from the American Optometric Association. If you are due for your annual exam, don't delay and schedule your exam today!