What Do You See?
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What Do You See?

When you look around the room, what do you see? Do you see everything clearly, or are there spots in your visual field that are a bit blurry or fuzzy? If your answer is the latter, you need to see an optometrist for an assessment. In fact, it is a good idea to see an optometrist once a year whether or not you are actually noticing any changes to your vision. Optometrists offer vital services for us all. If you're seeking a better understanding of those services, then we invite you to read the articles provided on this blog, which is all about optometrists and their work.


What Do You See?

Detecting Diabetes During An Eye Exam

Harry Garcia

Diabetes can cause a number of signs and symptoms, including shaking and profuse sweating as a result of unstable blood glucose levels, lightheadedness, excessive urination, poor wound healing, and skin conditions such as stasis ulcers. It can even raise the risk of developing yeast infections inside the mouth which can cause white patches to appear on the tongue and tonsils. In addition, diabetes can also cause the following abnormalities of the eyes which may be revealed during your eye exam.

Retinal Blood Vessel Damage 

One of the most common eye manifestations of diabetes is a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. During your eye exam, your doctor will examine the back of your eye with a slit lamp. The doctor can then visualize the blood vessels of your retina and if they look enlarged or if there are hemorrhages behind your eye, you may be referred back to your primary care physician for further diabetic testing such as lab work.

Diabetic retinopathy is often treated with laser surgery to help treat leaky retinal blood vessels. The laser procedure is done in the office, and prior to the laser treatment, the eye doctor places a couple of different drops in your eye to both dilate your pupil and numb the eye so that you do not feel any sensations during the laser treatment.

Macular Edema

Macular edema refers to when vitreous eye fluid leaks into the retina which can cause the macula to swell. The macula is the part of your eye that is responsible for your vision. It is located in the middle of your retina, and in addition to diabetes, macular edema can be caused by macular degeneration, certain types of genetic disorders, and some types of glaucoma medications. Macular edema can be treated with anti-inflammatory eye drops, laser procedures, and vitrectomy surgery.

During a vitrectomy, your eye doctor will make a tiny incision in your eye and remove the vitreous fluid that is causing the macular edema. Although a vitrectomy is effective in treating macular edema, it is usually reserved for when eye drops and laser treatments are ineffective. 

If your eye exam reveals any of the above signs of diabetes, make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. When your diabetes is well-controlled, it may be less likely to progress and cause complications such as diabetic retinopathy, macular edema, blurred vision, and even total blindness.

Speak to a doctor to learn more about how eye exams can help detect diabetes.