What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is when the body is unable to use and store glucose as it should. Glucose is a form of sugar used for energy and to perform different bodily functions. A by-product of these functions is sugar accumulating in a person’s bloodstream causing the blood sugar level to reach higher than normal levels. High blood sugar causes many complications throughout the body, especially in your eyes. In order to reduce the risk of diabetes related eye conditions, you must have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. This will help minimize the risk of eye conditions being undetected and untreated.
Diabetes in Greensboro, NC
Dr. Sally Miller, one of the optometrists at Miller Vision Specialists in Greensboro, states, “Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults up to age 74. Research shows that from 2005 to 2008, 4.2 million diabetes patients in the United States were diagnosed with a serious diabetes related eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. This eye condition, caused by high blood sugar levels in the patient’s body, causes the blood vessels in the eye to begin leaking fluids or to become completely closed off. Without proper care, this condition can cause severe vision loss or even blindness.”
Additionally, people with diabetes are at an increased risk of glaucoma and early development of cataracts. Despite these serious findings, 1 in 4 people with diabetes do not follow their optometrist’s recommendation to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.
The Diabetic Eye Exam
Since many diabetes related conditions show no symptoms until irreversible damage has been done, early detection is essential. People who succeed in detecting diabetes related eye conditions early are the ones who follow their eye doctor’s recommendation to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam once a year. This specialty eye exam includes dilating your eye so that the pupil is enlarged, allowing your optometrist a wider window through which to check the retina for damage. Your eye doctor will be able to see signs of retinopathy or other eye damage that might be caused by your diabetes.
A comprehensive exam at Miller Vision Specialists also includes a test, where a quick puff of air is blown into your eye or a pressure-sensitive tip is gently placed near or against it. This measures the internal eye fluid pressure. If your eye doctor discovers your internal eye fluid pressure is higher than normal, this may be an indication of glaucoma.
Statistics show that a dilated eye exam allowing for early detection, timely treatment and appropriate follow-up can reduce your risk of significant vision loss by as much as 95%.
When to Book an Eye Exam
Although it is generally recommended to see your optometrist once a year for an annual check-up, there are a few symptoms that indicate you should not wait for your annual appointment and should schedule an eye exam right away. For example:
• If your vision becomes blurry
• you are seeing double
• one or both of your eyes hurt
• your eyes get red and stay that way
• you feel pressure in your eye
• you consistently see spots or floaters in your vision
All of these can be symptoms of an underlying eye problem related to your diabetes. For more information or to schedule your comprehensive dilated eye exam, contact our eye care center in Greensboro, NC.