Diabetes is an extremely common metabolic condition that is estimated to affect millions of Americans. It occurs when your body is no longer able to regulate its blood sugar levels naturally, and instead you need to take specific action to keep them stable. This may be in the form of controlling your diet, or by taking medications. It’s essential to get diabetes under control because it can have severe consequences for our long-term health. However, that’s not all. Persistently high blood sugar levels can also lead to an eye-related complication called diabetic retinopathy. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll be asked to attend regular comprehensive eye exams or diabetic eye exams in Southlake, TX.
A diabetic eye exam is actually a very straightforward procedure. In many cases, it will be included within the other elements of a comprehensive eye exam. In fact, you may not even realize that you have undergone a specific test that checks for the presence of diabetes-related complications.
The process requires dilating the eyes, where an eyedrop in instilled. The drops enlarge your pupils so that your eye doctor in Southlake, TX can get a better view in your eyes to examine the structures at the back. This is done using a special light and lens. You’ll also be asked to rest your head against a device where a camera will capture images of the structures at the back of the eye, or retina. There will be a bright flash at the moment each image is captured, but this won’t be painful.
This examination of your eyes will also include visual acuity testing. This is the eye exam that most people are familiar with and involves reading letters off of a chart at a specific distance away from you. You may also be given a card to hold and asked to read from this, too. These tests enable your eye doctor to check the quality of your vision at different distances.
Diabetic retinopathy can be diagnosed simply by looking at the blood vessels and optic nerve at the back of the eye. The retina needs a continuous supply of blood and this is delivered to it using a network of tiny blood vessels. Persistently high blood sugar levels have been shown to cause damage to these blood vessels, causing them to leak fluid and blood into the retina. The more this happens, the more likely these fluids may cause scarring to the retina, and this can affect the quality and clarity of your vision. Left untreated, it is possible for a patient to experience permanent vision loss.
Annual comprehensive eye exams or diabetic eye exams are recommended for all patients with a diagnosis of diabetes. These enable your eye doctor to closely monitor the health and condition of your eyes to ensure that any signs of diabetic retinopathy are spotted early so that prompt treatment can begin.
If you are looking for diabetic eye exams in Southlake, our experienced eyecare team at Eyes & Ears would be happy to help. Contact our optometry office in Southlake by calling (817) 270-6400 to schedule your appointment.