By Eric Wiseman OD, BSc
November is Diabetes Awareness Month which gives us a chance to talk about the importance of routine eye exams, especially for those with diabetes. As with the rest of the body, the blood vessels in the eyes are impacted by spikes in blood glucose levels which can cause leakage of blood through vessels walls, vessel blockages and the unusual growth of poorly formed blood vessels. Nowhere in the body are these changes to the blood vessels so easily observed as in the retina, which lines the inside of your eyeball.
During routine eye exams, your doctor will examine these retinal blood vessels for the earliest signs of leaks or blockages to better determine your risk of vision loss from diabetes and other systemic vascular disorders. Sometimes these signs can be found even before a person is aware that they have a medical condition! Your optometrist will communicate any of these noted changes with you and your physician so that they can coordinate any changes to your diabetic treatment plan.
At our clinic all diabetic eye exams include Optomap™ wide-field imaging to capture a single image showing up to 80% of the retina. We also take OCT scans of your retina which allow our doctors to see detailed cross-sections of your macula to catch any small areas of swelling which can lead to vision loss. These tools allow for our doctors to best examine your eyes for any signs of diabetic changes and to compare any changes to the eye over time.
For more information on diabetes and yours eyes see the link below: