How Often Should Diabetic Patients Have an Ophthalmic Exam?
Regular eye exams are important if you have diabetes. Diabetes is a health condition that can affect multiple parts of the body including the eyes. Comprehensive eye exams can equip diabetics with important information regarding potential damage to nerves and blood vessels. Diabetes affects the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue located at the back of the eye responsible for receiving light that sends electronic signals to the brain via the optic nerve to interpret the images you see. Within the retina is the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly. The macula is dependent on blood vessels in and behind the retina for proper function. Over time, uncontrolled diabetes can damage those blood vessels and cause diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can cause vision loss or even blindness. Because symptoms do not often present until this condition is severe, including bleeding in the eye, eye exams are necessary to diagnose the disease in its early stages.
Diabetic patients should have an ophthalmic exam every year. Routine screening is early detection, regardless of having diabetes or not. For diabetics, it is estimated that 40% of people over the age of 40 will develop diabetic retinopathy. In addition, those with diabetes are at greater risk for developing cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Blindness from diabetes is almost completely preventable; early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy can reduce the risk of severe vision loss by 90%. Unfortunately, a high percentage of diabetic patients never get screened or receive an annual diabetic eye test. If you have diabetes, make a comprehensive eye exam with retinal imaging a priority this year. Eye exams provide a quick and painless way to assess the health and function of the eyes and to evaluate how blood sugar levels may be affecting your vision. Call Kalamazoo Ophthalmology at 269-329-5860 or book your appointment here at WEBSITE.