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Diabetic Eye Exam

Did you know that if you have diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, you may need a more comprehensive eye exam or more frequent eye exams than patients who do not have this disease?

Did you know that early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease will reduce your chance of losing your vision due to diabetes?

There are several eye conditions for which patients with diabetes need surveillance examinations.  Diabetic retinopathy is, of course, the biggest concern, but diabetics also have higher risk for cataracts, double vision, and glaucoma as well.

Diabetic Eye Exams Colorado Springs

It is crucial that you do not wait for symptoms of poor vision if you have diabetes.  Often there are no symptoms at all with the early stages of diabetic eye disease, when it is easier to control.  It is important to get a comprehensive diabetic eye exam on a regular basis if you are a patient living with diabetes.

Our Colorado Springs eye doctors specialize in treatment of eye disease and medical eye conditions and see hundreds of patients for diabetic eye exams each year.

Diabetic Eye Disease: Retinopathy

An early diabetic eye exam can prevent 95% of vision loss. When your body is unable to properly store sugar due to diabetes, the blood vessels in your eyes are often damaged from the effects of circulating sugar on their cells, and the blood flow is compromised.

Sometimes people with advanced stages of diabetes will have new blood vessels grow over the retina along with fibrosis or scar tissue.  This scar tissue can pull your retina away from your eye wall, causing a retinal detachment – a serious condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Glaucoma can develop in patients with diabetes.  One reason for this can be new blood vessels growing on the iris due to damage of the existing circulation. These abnormal vessels, called neovascularization or rubeosis of the iris, block the normal channels that allow fluid to leave the eye.

If you are living with diabetes, you have a much greater risk of losing your vision than people without diabetes.  To help reduce the chance of serious eye disease, please make annual diabetic eye exams a part of your routine medical care. Eye doctors can detect signs of diabetes in your eyes sometimes long before you even notice any visual symptoms.  This early detection and treatment can be essential in preventing further vision loss. You can read more about Diabetic Eye Care from the American Diabetes Association.

Double vision and floaters may also be indicators or symptoms of diabetic eye disease. Call and make an appointment for a complete diabetic eye exam – dilated eye exam –  if you have diabetes and experience either of these symptoms.

Diabetic Retinopathy Care

In certain cases, special testing called fluorescein angiography may be arranged to help determine if you need diabetic retinopathy treatment.  During this test, special dye is injected into your body, and the blood flow in the retina is photographed as the dye travels through.   A fluorescein angiogram also will tell your doctor how much the disease has advanced so they can determine the appropriate treatment for this disease.

Treatments for diabetic retinopathy are not generally painful.  Eye doctors may use a laser to seal off leaking blood vessels and help prevent the growth of new blood vessels if certain criteria are met. Sometimes additional surgical procedures are necessary, such as vitrectomy surgery, which may be needed in case of diabetic vitreous hemorrhage. Medications such as steroids or blood vessel growth inhibitors may be employed as needed to help preserve vision.

If treated in time, diabetic retinopathy has a high rate of treatment success. Early detection by annual diabetic eye exams, taking care of your general health, and proper control of your diabetes are the keys to maintaining good vision while living with diabetic eye disease.

Please do not hesitate to call us for a diabetic eye exam.  We are located in Colorado Springs. We treat patients throughout the Pikes Peak region.

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