What is a diabetic eye exam?

Diabetes is a rapidly growing concern in today’s society, and a diagnosis can have a profound impact on your life. It is important to protect one of your most precious senses from becoming damaged by your elevated blood sugar levels.

A diabetic eye exam is a medical evaluation of the health of your eyes and requires additional testing and coordination with your primary care doctor. Because of this, your vision plan will not cover a diabetic eye exam, luckily however, your medical insurance will cover it.

Diabetes affects the smaller blood vessels located throughout your body. These same sized blood vessels are the ones most predominant in your eyes. During a diabetic eye exam our eye doctors will pay extra close attention to these blood vessels to make sure there is no blood or other fluid outside of them where it doesn’t belong and also to make sure no new blood vessels are growing where they shouldn’t be.

Your eye doctor may use a special instrument to look for blood vessels growing around the iris, the part of the eye that determines your eye color. Photos may also be taken of the retina to help monitor for blood vessel changes from year to year. The macula, or central detailed vision, also gets special attention to make sure there is no fluid accumulating which affects visual acuity most rapidly and severely.

Diabetes is the leading cause of visual impairment in working-aged adults because a person often has diabetes for a number of years before it is even diagnosed so damage can have already occurred. Even if you think your diabetes is well controlled, a yearly dilated eye exam by an optometrist is needed because retinopathy can occur at any time and the sooner we catch it the less chance for sight loss and permanent damage.