Preserve Your Vision with a Diabetic Eye Exam
Diabetes affects more than just your blood sugar. The condition affects systems and structures throughout the whole body, including the eyes. Of the roughly 30 million Americans who have Type 1, Type 2, or gestational diabetes, many never consider undergoing regular comprehensive eye exams. At our Westminster and Northglenn, CO, offices, Dr. Jim E. Montgomery can perform a diabetic eye exam for patients with the condition, catching the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy in its earliest stages. Without intervention, patients with diabetes-related eye problems can expect their vision to worsen to the point of severe and irreversible vision loss.
Why Do I Need to Be Screened?
All types of diabetes cause glucose level fluctuations, ultimately leading to issues in the eye vessels and capillaries. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the formation of fragile, abnormal vessels which burst and leak into the fluid and tissue of the eye. If the blood vessels and capillaries are too close to the macula, they can also set the stage for macular degeneration.
Without intervention, patients with diabetes-related eye problems can expect their vision to worsen to the point of blindness.
Not all individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes experience early indicators of eye-related conditions like diabetic retinopathy. However, many do schedule eye exams after having one or more troubling symptoms, including blurry vision, floaters, double vision, or difficulty reading. Some symptoms, such as straight lines that appear curvy, can point to the beginning stages of macular degeneration.
What to Expect during and after Your Visit
Even if Dr. Montgomery suspects that a patient may have diabetic retinopathy or another problem related to managed or unmanaged diabetes, he will always perform a dilated eye exam before recommending treatment. This will allow him to better visualize the internal structures of the eye. Once your eyes are dilated, Dr. Montgomery may perform:
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT): This diagnostic test captures cross-sectional images of your eyes. This allows your doctor to visualize the thickness of the retina and detect damaged blood vessels.
- Fluorescein angiography: This involves injecting a dye into the bloodstream. Your doctor will then take photos of the inside of your eye to identify any blocked or damaged blood vessels.
Dilation typically lasts about six hours. As a result, it may be more difficult to focus on near objects during this time. Additionally, it can make driving uncomfortable for some individuals. Therefore, we recommend arranging for a driver or using public transportation the day of your exam.
Bright sunlight and UV rays can damage the eyes. Therefore, you should wear dark sunglasses following your diabetic eye exam.
The Importance of Regular Exams for Diabetic Patients
Due to these progressive health concerns, it is important for diabetic patients to undergo a comprehensive eye exam every year. Dr. Montgomery specializes in diabetic eye care, and the advantages of visiting him for an eye exam are far-reaching. In fact, this preventative step may even inhibit or delay total vision loss in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Individuals who undergo a diabetic eye exam can enjoy:
- Better vision: With the right combination of at-home and in-office care, procedures, and treatments, individuals with diabetic retinopathy and other diabetes-related eye problems can enjoy sharper vision.
- Peace of mind: Understanding the causes of vision problems and how to prevent, treat, or delay future issues provides tremendous comfort for patients who are concerned about their eye health.
- Health savings: Diabetes can be a costly disease. Catching its effects early on can allow you to maintain your eyesight with simple, and often less expensive, methods.
Contact Montgomery Eye Care
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, think you might have the early warning signs of diabetes, or are at risk of diabetes due to heredity or lifestyle, reach out to our practice. You can contact Dr. Montgomery’s office for a diabetic eye exam online or call (303) 252-9981.