Why do diabetics need annual eye exams?

Because there are eye complications that diabetics are especially at risk for and , if found early, can be normalized.

I take care of many people with diabetes. As a family physician, I help manage their blood sugars. Standard of care is to see an eye doctor and have a dilated eye exam yearly. Diabetes can affect the eyes without causing symptoms or blurry vision.   Commonly diabetic eye disease is present when an adult first presents with diabetes (because elevated blood sugars may have been present for years).   Good news is that most mild eye changes are reversible with good control of blood sugar.

What is retinopathy? This is damage to the blood vessels of the retina (the back part of the eye) which can cause bleeding. If retinopathy is left untreated, this can result in blindness. If blood sugar remain high or fluctuates significantly, this can result in more damage to the delicate retinal blood vessels.   If the retina is not getting enough oxygen, new blood vessels may start to grow. These blood vessels are fragile and can break and bleed easily, leading to loss of vision.

What are concerning symptoms? Symptoms may include: spots or dark floaters, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, missing areas, vision loss, and difficulty with color perception.

Keeping blood sugars well controlled can help decrease your risk of all sorts of bad complications of diabetes. Watch your diet. Take your diabetes medication religiously. Take blood sugar readings as needed. See your doctor regularly.

Hope this helps.

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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