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Eye Check Up For Diabetes

Eye Doctor Q And A - Diabetes And Its Effect On The Eyes

Eye Doctor Q And A - Diabetes And Its Effect On The Eyes

Q: How does diabetes affect your eyes? L.L., Connecticut A: Diabetes causes problems in the retina with what are collectively called microvascular abnormalities. The small blood vessels develop microaneurysms and leak blood. New blood vessel growth ( neovascularization ) occurs. Unfortunately, these blood vessels are weak and also leak. These leaks (hemorrhages) can cause irreversible damage to the retina and permanent vision loss. Patients with controlled diabetes do better than those with uncontrolled diabetes. However, even a person whose diabetes is under perfect control can still develop diabetic retinopathy hence, the need for yearly retinal exams. Dr. Slonim Q: Does diabetic retinopathy get progressively worse? F.R. A: Yes. When left unrecognized and untreated, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and eventually lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can even get worse despite use of the best treatments that currently exist for it. Dr. Slonim Q: My father has type 2 diabetes and he is seeing double. We went to the hospital about a week ago and they said the diabetes had affected a nerve on the right eye. Can medicine get his sight back to normal? W.C. A: Diabetes can affect any one of the three cranial nerves that are responsible for movement of the eyes. Diabetes is one of the more common conditions associated with sixth nerve (Abducens nerve) palsies. Paralysis of this nerve affects the lateral rectus muscle that allows the eye to look outward. There is no specific medicine for this. The paralysis can be temporary and last a few months or it can be permanent. Dr. Slonim Q: Can diabetes cause you to have eye infections such as pink eye and frequent styes? K.M. A: That's a great question! Yes, people with diabetes are more likely to get bacterial infections, incl Continue reading >>

7 Health Problems Eye Exams Can Detect

7 Health Problems Eye Exams Can Detect

Did you know that an eye exam can be as effective as a physical in determining your health? Unfortunately, many Americans put off going to the eye doctor if they feel like their vision has not changed. Comprehensive eye exams are important for many reasons. Your eyesight may change very gradually over time, and you may not even know that you need a stronger prescription. Your eye doctor will also perform several tests during the eye examination that will rule out eye disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts or retinal problems. Along with eye-related concerns, eye doctors may even be able to detect other health issues during a comprehensive eye exam. In fact, you may even find yourself leaving the eye doctor with a referral to another specialist because of a specific test that your ophthalmologist performed during your comprehensive eye exam. Here are just a few health issues that may be discovered during an eye exam: Diabetes— Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the retina of the eyes. These blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid, and this may be discovered in an eye exam. If your eye doctor notices this condition, you may have a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Hypertension— Blood vessels in the eye may exhibit bends, kinks or tears, and this may be an indication of high blood pressure. Autoimmune disorders— If the eye is inflamed, this may be a sign of Lupus or another autoimmune disorder. High cholesterol— The cornea may have a yellowish appearance or a yellow ring around it which can be a sign of high cholesterol. There also may be plaques in the blood vessels of the retina which could indicate elevated cholesterol. Thyroid disease— One of the telltale signs of thyroid disease are bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs. This condition is Continue reading >>

Diabetes Discovery – Via The Eyes

Diabetes Discovery – Via The Eyes

Did you know that an eye exam can be the first clue to detecting diabetes and other hidden health concerns? Finding health issues early can give patients a better chance at preventing damage through early treatment and management. A routine eye exam can show so many things. Some can be downright life changing – and life-saving – for that matter. One doctor found out first-hand when she did the same thing she does every day – she looked into a patient's eyes. But this was no ordinary exam. When Kathleen Clary, OD, peered into her 48-year-old patient’s eyes, she saw blood and other fluids seeping out of fragile and miniscule vessels in her retinas. The retina is the light and sight-sensing back part of the eye – and without it, you don't see. “As soon as I noticed the leaking fluids and the hemorrhaging, I suspected that they might be symptoms of diabetes,” recalls Dr. Clary, who practices in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Ashburn, Virginia. “In my 12 years of experience as an eye doctor, that kind of bleeding usually signals that a buildup of sugar in the patient’s bloodstream has begun to break down the capillaries that feed the retina. The result is often what we call diabetic retinopathy – a condition in which continuing damage to retinal tissue from diabetes can lead to impaired vision or even blindness, if left untreated.” The eye exam was the very first clue the patient had that she might have diabetes. Dr. Clary talked with her patient about what she saw and explained what it could mean. “I want you to have your blood sugar level checked right away by your family doctor,” she told her patient. “Tell the doctor you need to be evaluated for diabetes with a fasting blood sugar test, because your optometrist noticed some retinal bleeding. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Eye Exam | Detection Of Disease Conditions & Symptoms

Diabetic Eye Exam | Detection Of Disease Conditions & Symptoms

Diabetes can lead to serious eye disease and even blindness. You need a comprehensive eye exam called a diabetic eye exam at least once a year. November is Diabetic Eye Disease month. Diabetic eye exams are the best way to prevent eye problems from diabetes, so its a great time to learn about them. Diabetic eye disease is just that eye damage related to diabetes. The most common type is diabetic retinopathy . But diabetes also raises the risk of cataracts and glaucoma. Learn more about diabetic eye disease . Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can affect your eyes. Blood sugar can get too high in both types, damaging blood vessels in the eye. First, your eye doctor checks your vision and asks you to read letters on an eye chart. Next, the doctor examines the front of your eyes using specialized lights and lenses. You might also have the pressure inside your eyes checked with an instrument called a tonometer. After this, you are given eye drops to open up (dilate) your pupils. You relax in the exam room for 15 30 minutes while your eyes dilate fully. Then the doctor examines the back of your eyes, including the delicate blood vessels in the retina. These are the vessels damaged in diabetic retinopathy, so regular dilated eye exams are very important. Having the pupils dilated allows your doctor to see the entire retina, including any changes. You might also have photographs taken of the retina. This is called digital retinal imaging. The doctor reviews the images carefully for signs of diabetic eye disease. He or she can also compare images from year to year to keep track of any changes. How often should I have diabetic eye exams? Every year, unless your doctor tells you to come in more often. Should I do anything before my diabetic eye exam? Keep your blood sugar as close Continue reading >>

How Do Eye Doctors Check For Diabetic Retinopathy?

How Do Eye Doctors Check For Diabetic Retinopathy?

Early treatment of serious diabetic retinopathy can improve the chance of saving your sight. For some people, diabetic retinopathy may be one of the first signs that they have diabetes. Adults and children who have diabetes should have a dilated eye exam at least once a year. If you have diabetic retinopathy, you may need to visit an eye doctor more often than once a year. This helps the doctor monitor the disease and determine the best treatment options. The eye doctor can decide if you need an eye exam more often. At a complete eye exam, called a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor widens the pupil of the eye with eye drops to allow a closer look at the inside of the eye. This exam may not be part of an eye exam for a new pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Dilated Eye Exam Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health The blood vessels in the eyes cannot be distinguished from the surrounding structure of the eye in conventional imaging techniques. Doctors can however document potential damage caused by diabetic retinopathy by injecting a substance that "lights up" the veins. This simple procedure provides a clear picture of the retinal blood vessels for diagnosis. Continue reading >>

Yearly Eye Exam

Yearly Eye Exam

How often is it covered? Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a yearly eye exam for diabetic retinopathy by an eye doctor who's legally allowed to do the test in your state. Who's eligible? All people with Part B who have diabetes are covered. Your costs in Original Medicare You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your doctor's services, and the Part B deductible applies. In a hospital outpatient setting, you pay a copayment. To find out how much your specific test, item, or service will cost, talk to your doctor or other health care provider. The specific amount you’ll owe may depend on several things, like: Other insurance you may have How much your doctor charges Whether your doctor accepts assignment The type of facility The location where you get your test, item, or service Your doctor or other health care provider may recommend you get services more often than Medicare covers. Or, they may recommend services that Medicare doesn’t cover. If this happens, you may have to pay some or all of the costs. It’s important to ask questions so you understand why your doctor is recommending certain services and whether Medicare will pay for them. Continue reading >>

An Eye Test For Diabetes

An Eye Test For Diabetes

A snapshot of the retina could detect cell damage in the early stages of diabetes. Diabetes messes with the body’s metabolism, which can result in devastating complications like nerve damage, kidney disease, and vision loss. By capturing a snapshot of the eye, scientists in Michigan say that they can pick up telltale signs of metabolic stress in the retina caused by diabetes. They say that the new imaging technology may offer a quick, noninvasive way of detecting the disease early and monitoring its progress. “With just a minute in an optometrist’s office, you might be able to detect metabolic stress in the eye, refer the patient to an endocrinologist, and get a diagnosis,” says Howard Petty, a biophysicist and imaging expert at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center and one of the authors of a study that appears in the latest issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology. The study focused on patients with diabetes, but Petty says that the screening technology should be able to identify people with prediabetes–a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal and that often progresses to full-blown diabetes. The researchers are beginning clinical trials this fall, using the system on diabetics and prediabetics. “It’s an intriguing idea that you could detect early diabetes by looking for the changes that result from blood sugar, in the eye,” says John Buse, president of Medicine and Science at the American Diabetes Association, who was not involved in the work. Petty, together with Victor Elner and other colleagues at the University of Michigan, used a sophisticated camera system coupled with customized imaging software to detect fluorescence given off by oxidized proteins in dying cells in the retina. The 21 diabetics in their study h Continue reading >>

Diabetes: Eye Exams

Diabetes: Eye Exams

www.CardioSmart.org A dilated eye exam lets your eye doctor see the back of your eye. This test can detect eye problems like diabetic retinopathy. Before the test, your eye doctor will use eyedrops to widen, or dilate, your pupils. This makes it easier for the doctor to see into your eye. The eyedrops take about 15 to 20 minutes to fully dilate your pupil. Your doctor may also use eyedrops to numb your eyes. Who should get a dilated retinal exam? Everyone with diabetes should have regular dilated retinal exams. Diabetes can lead to eye problems that cause vision loss or blindness. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you will have eye problems. By the time you notice any vision problems, your eyes may already be seriously damaged. A thorough exam can help detect symptoms early. Early treatment may help protect your vision. People with diabetes are also at a higher risk for glaucoma. This is increased pressure inside the eye, which can cause blindness. An eye exam can check for this condition along with diabetic retinopathy. How often should you be tested? If you have diabetes, get tested every year, or more often if your doctor says to. If your eye exam results are normal, your doctor may consider follow-up exams every 2 years instead of every year. But if you are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, youmay need frequent eye exams. Who performs a dilated retinal exam? This test can be done by: • An ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat eye problems, diseases, and injuries. • A licensed optometrist. Optometrists are health professionals who diagnose and treat vision problems and eye diseases. They also do routine vision testing and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. An optometrist is not a medical doctor, Continue reading >>

Diabetic Eye Disease: Diagnosis, Causes, And Symptoms

Diabetic Eye Disease: Diagnosis, Causes, And Symptoms

By Debra A. Sokol-McKay, MS, CVRT, CDE, CLVT, OTR/L, SCLV Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease How Diabetes Affects the Eyes and Vision: Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Examination Guidelines Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease Diabetic retinopathy usually has no early warning signs. It can be detected only through a comprehensive eye examination that looks for early signs of the disease, including: Leaking blood vessels Macular edema (swelling) Pale, fatty deposits on the retina Damaged nerve tissue Any changes to the retinal blood vessels To diagnose diabetic eye disease effectively, eye care specialists recommend a comprehensive diabetic eye examination that includes the following procedures: Distance and near vision acuity tests A dilated eye (or fundus) examination, which includes the use of an ophthalmoscope. In a dilated eye examination, it is the pupil that is dilated—not the entire eye. This allows the examiner to see through the pupil to the retina. Visual acuity tests alone are not sufficient to detect diabetic retinopathy in its early stages. A tonometry test to measure fluid pressure inside the eye. A fluorescein angiography test, if more serious retinal changes, such as macular edema, are suspected. Fluorescein angiography is an eye test that uses a special dye and camera to look at blood flow in the retina. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) testing may be used to gain a clearer picture of the retina and its supporting layers. OCT is a type of medical imaging technology that produces high-resolution cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of the eye. Also, an Amsler Grid test can detect early and sometimes subtle visual changes in a variety of macular diseases, including diabetic macular edema. The first image below shows an Amsler Grid as seen with unimpaired vis Continue reading >>

Annual Eye Exam

Annual Eye Exam

~ Deborah K. Schlossman, M.D. Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable new onset blindness in working-age adults. Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can have diabetic eye disease and not know it, as it is painless and often has no symptoms until very advanced stages. But with appropriate care you can reduce the risk of blindness and increase your chances of preserving sight. Joslin Diabetes Center has been on the cutting edge of diabetes-related eye disease prevention since its inception and has set standards across the world for the treatment and care of eyes. At Joslin we have developed clinical guidelines that recommend you take a three-pronged approach to preserving your vision: 1.Maintain excellent A1C and blood glucose levels. 2.Keep your blood pressure and other health factors, such as your cholesterol, in check. 3.Make sure you get your eyes checked annually through a dilated eye exam (an exam in which the doctor places drops in your eyes) or specially validated photographs of your retinas (the inside of the eyes). Eye exams for people with diabetes are very thorough and may take up to 2½ hours. Part of the exam includes applying drops to dilate your pupils, so the doctor can have a good look at what is happening at the back of your eye called the retina. No portions of the exam are painful, but when you have your pupils dilated you should be prepared to wear sunglasses after the appointment as you’ll be sensitive to light. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease for people with diabetes. It occurs when the small blood vessels in the eye are damaged by high levels of glucose in the blood. Although there are a variety of treatments to treat diabetic retinopathy, the earlier it is diagnosed the more effective the treatment. Although diabetes Continue reading >>

What To Expect At Your Eye Exam

What To Expect At Your Eye Exam

If you are lucky enough to have good eyesight, you may be surprised when your diabetes care team recommends that you make an appointment with an eye doctor. If your vision is stable, and your eyes don’t bother you, why should you have your eyes checked? The answer is that many potentially devastating eye problems develop without causing discomfort or distorting vision. Glaucoma and cataract are examples of eye problems that occur commonly in older adults and more frequently in people with diabetes. Generally, these conditions are treatable, but if not caught early enough, they can lead to vision loss or even blindness. In addition, there’s diabetic retinopathy, a serious complication that is more likely to occur in people with Type 1 diabetes but may develop in anyone with diabetes. Tight blood glucose control can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of diabetic retinopathy, but the only way to identify this and other eye problems in their earliest and most treatable stages is to have regular, comprehensive eye examinations. -- Keep an eye on your vision! Learn about preventive steps and treatments for diabetic retinopathy from retinal specialist Dr. Charles Wykoff. >> There’s no reason to avoid an eye exam; it involves a series of painless tests that check your visual acuity and general eye health and screen for signs of disease. Before we discuss what to expect at the exam, let’s take a look at the eye and how it works. The eye The eye is a hollow organ about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, with an opening at the front that lets in light, and a gelatinous substance called vitreous filling most of the inside. It functions in a manner similar to a camera. The aperture through which light enters the eye is the pupil, the black-seeming hole in the middle Continue reading >>

What You Should Know About Diabetes And Eye Exams

What You Should Know About Diabetes And Eye Exams

Overview Diabetes is a disease that profoundly affects many areas of your body, including your eyes. It increases your risk for eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts. The primary concern for eye health in people with diabetes is the development of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that develops when the blood vessels in your retina become damaged. The retina is the light-sensitive portion of the back of your eye. As the damage worsens, you may begin losing your vision. Your eyesight may become blurry, less intense, and begin to disappear. This condition can affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you live with diabetes, the more likely you are to develop complications like diabetic retinopathy. This is why adopting lifestyle changes and learning to manage diabetes is so important. In its earliest stages, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms. The initial symptoms may be barely noticeable or mild. Over time, the condition can worsen and lead to partial and then complete blindness. You should see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms: floaters, or dots and dark strings, in your field of vision dark or empty areas in your field of vision blurry vision difficulty focusing vision changes that seem to fluctuate altered color vision partial or total vision loss Diabetic retinopathy most often affects both eyes at the same time and in equal measure. If you’re experiencing issues with only one eye, it doesn’t mean you don’t have diabetic retinopathy. However, it might indicate another eye issue. Make an appointment to see your doctor to find an appropriate treatment plan. The buildup of excess sugar in your blood can lead to a number of health issues. In your eyes, too much glucose can damage the tiny ves Continue reading >>

Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease

Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease

Points to Remember Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness. Diabetic retinopathy involves changes to retinal blood vessels that can cause them to bleed or leak fluid, distorting vision. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. DME is a consequence of diabetic retinopathy that causes swelling in the area of the retina called the macula. Controlling diabetes—by taking medications as prescribed, staying physically active, and maintaining a healthy diet—can prevent or delay vision loss. Because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed until vision loss occurs, people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care of diabetic eye disease can protect against vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with several therapies, used alone or in combination. NEI supports research to develop new therapies for diabetic retinopathy, and to compare the effectiveness of existing therapies for different patient groups. What is diabetic eye disease? Diabetic eye disease can affect many parts of the eye, including the retina, macula, lens and the optic nerve. Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that can affect people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes Continue reading >>

Causes And Treatments Of Diabetic Retinopathy

Causes And Treatments Of Diabetic Retinopathy

Causes and Treatments of Diabetic Retinopathy Call Your Doctor About Diabetic Retinopathy If: In people with diabetes , high blood sugar damages the walls of the small blood vessels in the eye , altering their structure and function. These vessels may thicken, leak, develop clots, close off, or grow balloon-like defects called microaneurysms. Frequently, fluid accumulates in the part of the retina used in tasks such as reading; this condition is called macular edema . In advanced cases, the retina is robbed of its blood supply and grows new, but defective, vessels -- a process called neovascularization. These fragile vessels can bleed, creating vision -impairing hemorrhages, scar tissue, and separation of the retina from the back of the eye ( retinal detachment ). The new vessels can also block fluid flow within the eye , producing glaucoma . Testing and Diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy It's important that anyone who has diabetes gets annual eye exams from an ophthalmologist so diabetic retinopathy can be detected early. When you visit an ophthalmologist, he or she will question you about your medical history and vision and will ask you to read an eye chart. The doctor will then directly examine your retina using an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. Some of the features of diabetic retinopathy cannot be seen during a basic eye exam and require special exams. To get a better look at the inside of the eye, your doctor might administer drops to dilate your pupils and will then view the retina with lenses and a special light called a slit lamp. A test called fluorescein angiography can reveal changes in the structure and function of the retinal blood vessels. For this test, the doctor injects a fluorescent yellow dye into one of your veins and then photographs your retin Continue reading >>

Diabetes Eye Exams

Diabetes Eye Exams

Diabetes can harm your eyes. It can damage the small blood vessels in your retina, or the back of your eye. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes also increases your risk of glaucoma and other eye problems. You may not know your eyes are harmed until the problem is very bad. Your doctor can catch problems early if you get regular eye exams. This is very important. The early stages of diabetic retinopathy don't cause changes in vision and you won't have symptoms. Only an eye exam can detect the problem, so that steps can be taken to prevent the retinopathy from getting worse. Even if the doctor who takes care of your diabetes checks your eyes, you need an eye exam every 1 to 2 years by an eye doctor who takes care of people with diabetes. An eye doctor has equipment that can check the back of your eye much better than your regular doctor can. If you have eye problems because of diabetes, you will probably see your eye doctor more often. You may need special treatment to prevent your eye problems from getting worse. You may see two different types of eye doctors: An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who is an eye specialist trained to diagnose and treat eye problems. An optometrist is a health care provider trained to diagnose and treat problems with your vision. Many can do screening exams for damage from diabetes. Once you have eye disease caused by diabetes, you need to see an ophthalmologist. The doctor will check your vision using a chart of random letters of different sizes. This is called the Snellen chart. You will then be given eye drops to widen (dilate) the pupils of your eyes so that the doctor can better see the back of the eye. You may feel stinging when the drops are first placed. You may have a metallic taste in your mouth. To see the b Continue reading >>

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