People with diabetes should have a diabetic eye exam at least every year to check for diabetic retinopathy and other signs of diabetes in the eye. Diabetic retinopathy refers to problems with the blood vessels of the retina which cause them to leak blood or lipids inside the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It is important for people with diabetes to have frequent eye exams because diabetic retinopathy is much more treatable when discovered early. The likelihood of diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time you have had diabetes and with increased blood sugar levels. Management of diabetic retinopathy focuses on prevention through good control of blood sugar levels and early detection through a regular diabetic eye exam.
Diabetic Eye Exam
At your visit for a diabetic eye exam, Dr. Adelman will first talk with you about prevention of diabetic retinopathy. We will then put some drops in your eyes that dilate your pupil. Dilation of your pupils allows Dr. Adelman to examine the blood vessels in your eyes for any signs of diabetic retinopathy. Because the dilation will cause you to be sensitive to light and your vision to be a little blurry, it is a good idea to have someone drive you, or to take public transportation to your exam. After your diabetic eye exam, Dr. Adelman will talk with you about any findings during the exam, and help you come up with a plan to maintain good vision. We like to send a letter to your primary care physician to keep them informed of your eye health and diabetic eye care plan, so please make sure to bring their contact information with you to your diabetic eye exam. Good communication between your eye doctor and your primary care physician is important because your primary care physician may need to modify your diabetes medication or other management plan based on the status of your eyes.