Diabetic Eye Care

Recognizing, Preventing, and Treating Diabetic Eye Disease

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness.
  • Risk factors for developing Diabetic Eye Disease include: 
    • Length of time with Diabetes
    • Chronically high blood glucose
    • High blood pressure
    • Cholesterol problems
    • Smoking
    • Family history of Diabetes
    • African American or Latino descent

Diabetic eye disease may initially have no symptoms. The only prevention for permanent, irreversible vision loss is by having regular eye exams

Up to 45% of Americans diagnosed with Diabetes already have some stage of Diabetic Eye Disease.

Preventing Vision Loss Due to Diabetes

  1. Get a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam with your Eye Doctor once a year.
    In its early stages, Diabetic Eye Disease has no symptoms. A dilated eye exam allows your physician to check your retina and optic nerve for bleeding or damage before you notice any changes in your vision so treatment can begin as soon as signs appear.

  2. Control your blood sugar.
    When your blood sugar is too high, it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision, which goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes. High blood sugar can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes.

  3. Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
    High blood pressure and high cholesterol can put you at greater risk for eye disease and vision loss.

  4. Quit smoking.
    If you smoke, your risk for diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye diseases is higher.

  5. Exercise.
    Exercise is good for your eyes. It’s also good for your diabetes. Regular exercise can help your eyes stay as healthy as possible while helping to control your diabetes.

Three eye diseases that may develop due to diabetes include:

  1. Cataracts
  2. Glaucoma
  3. Diabetic Retinopathy

Testing for Prevention of Diabetic Eye Disease includes:

  1. Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam with:

    1. Visual Acuity Test – to check vision at different distances
    2. Tonometry – checks the pressure in your eye
    3. Dilation – to examine the retina and optic nerve
  2. Visual Field
    Allows detection of any field loss patients may experience from glaucoma, optic nerve damage or retinal disease.

  3. Ocular Coherence Tonometry (OCT)
    A scan of the retina so your Doctor can accurately diagnose bleeding, damage or pathology in the tissues in the back of your eye.

  4. Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound (TCD)
    Transcranial Doppler ultrasound (“TCD”) is a safe, non-invasive, technique that uses a low-frequency transducer probe to assess intracerebral blood flow, within the brain and to the eyes. Studies have shown the ability of TCD to predict stroke risks as well as other cardiovascular events. TCD also can provide a measure of changes in ophthalmic artery blood flow, which is important to help evaluate the course of common eye disorders. Published medical resources indicate a strong relationship between ocular circulation and visual function in patients with glaucoma, diabetes, and macular disease, which are the three leading causes of acquired irreversible blindness throughout the world.
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