What Conditions Can a Diabetic Eye Exam Detect?

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Diabetic eye exams are an important part of managing diabetes and catching potential vision problems early. West County Ophthalmology can detect diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular edema during these appointments – all of which lead to vision loss and blindness when left untreated.

Below, our eye care specialists discuss conditions that can be caught during regular diabetic eye exams. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, we encourage you to schedule an assessment in Chesterfield, MO. We have the experience and training needed to deliver comprehensive, individualized care.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication associated with diabetes – and a leading cause of blindness in adults. It occurs when consistently high blood sugar levels wear down or damage the blood vessels in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye). Early-stage diabetic retinopathy usually doesn’t cause vision problems, but as the disease progresses, it can lead to serious issues.

What happens during a diabetic retinopathy eye exam?

People with diabetes should schedule eye exams as directed by their doctor. West County Ophthalmology can perform a slit lamp exam to study the structures in front of and inside the eye. Dilation is also necessary, so we can check the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage. Our team may detect signs of diabetic retinopathy during these routine appointments.

Examinations generally last about an hour and include a comprehensive review of your medical history and family history of eye problems. During dilation, an eye care professional carefully places drops in your eyes to widen the pupil. This allows us to get a better view of the retina and optic nerve. Dilation can cause light sensitivity and blurry vision for a few hours, but the effects should eventually wear off at home.

What other conditions are detected during a diabetic eye exam?

In addition to diabetic retinopathy, eye care specialists also check for glaucoma and macular edema – two other conditions that eventually lead to vision loss. Glaucoma is another disease that damages the optic nerve, and macular edema is the accumulation of fluid in the macula (the central area of the retina).

If you are diagnosed with eye disease in Chesterfield, MO, rest assured that our staff is here to help. West County Ophthalmology understands that managing any eye condition can be challenging, but we are here to provide support at every step. Our treatment options are designed to preserve your vision and ensure the best possible outcomes.

How controlling your diabetes helps your eyes

Diabetic eye exams are essential, but managing your diabetes is just as necessary. People with diabetes should watch their blood sugar levels and be proactive about keeping them within a healthy range. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking medication as prescribed can help you better manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of diabetic retinopathy and other eye problems.

A primary care physician is your best resource for diabetes treatment, so be sure to keep all appointments and follow their recommendations.

Get checked for diabetic retinopathy

West County Ophthalmology is here to help, whether you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or macular edema. Our specialists are experienced in managing all types of eye conditions so you can enjoy the best possible vision. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam in Chesterfield, MO by calling today. We know how to deliver the individualized care you need and deserve.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.