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How Many Times Does A Diabetic Have To Have Her Eyes Checked?

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 Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy

Topic Overview Retinopathy is a disease of the retina. The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of your eye. It is the part of your eye that "takes pictures" and sends the images to your brain. Many people with diabetes get retinopathy. This kind of retinopathy is called diabetic retinopathy (retinal disease caused by diabetes). Diabetic retinopathy can lead to poor vision and even blindness. Most of the time, it gets worse over many years. At first, the blood vessels in the eye get weak. This can lead to blood and other liquid leaking into the retina from the blood vessels. This is called nonproliferative retinopathy. And this is the most common retinopathy. If the fluid leaks into the center of your eye, you may have blurry vision. Most people with nonproliferative retinopathy have no symptoms. If blood sugar levels stay high, diabetic retinopathy will keep getting worse. New blood vessels grow on the retina. This may sound good, but these new blood vessels are weak. They can break open very easily, even while you are sleeping. If they break open, blood can leak into the middle part of your eye in front of the retina and change your vision. This bleeding can also cause scar tissue to form, which can pull on the retina and cause the retina to move away from the wall of the eye (retinal detachment). This is called proliferative retinopathy. Sometimes people don't have symptoms until it is too late to treat them. This is why having eye exams regularly is so important. Retinopathy can also cause swelling of the macula of the eye. This is called macular edema. The macula is the middle of the retina, which lets you see details. When it swells, it can make your vision much worse. It can even cause legal blindness. If you are not able to keep your blood sugar levels Continue reading >>

Annual Eye Exams Can Detect Diabetic Eye Disease

Annual Eye Exams Can Detect Diabetic Eye Disease

Having an eye exam each year is important for people with diabetes. Diabetes that is not well managed can lead to diabetic retinopathy and other eye-related problems. An annual eye exam can help detect diabetic eye diseases so they can be treated early. A description of diabetes Diabetes causes people to have too much sugar in their blood. This happens when people aren’t producing insulin in their bodies (Type 1) or when the body is resistant to insulin (Type 2). Insulin is a hormone that helps reduce sugar (also called glucose) in the blood stream. Too much glucose can lead to serious health issues, affecting the heart, kidneys and eyes. Diabetic eye diseases Diabetic retinopathy is a serious concern for people with diabetes and the number-one cause of vision loss. If a person’s blood sugar level is not in control and remains chronically high, blood vessels in the eye can be damaged and impair vision, potentially resulting in blindness. Another concern is diabetic macular edema, which can occur when high blood sugar causes fluid to seep into the retina. Get annual eye exams Doctors recommend that adults with diabetes get an annual dilated eye exam to check for micro-vascular issues that affect people with diabetes. The eye doctor checks the retina (back of the eye) for signs of retinopathy, as well as the macula (center of the retina) for diabetic macular edema. At an annual eye exam, the eye doctor will: Dilate your eyes to look at the retinas See if you need corrective lenses Check your eye pressure for signs of glaucoma Identify other concerns unrelated to diabetes, such as cataracts and dry eye Manage your diabetes To stay healthy, it is important to: Test your blood sugar regularly Take the medicines prescribed by your doctor to help manage your blood sugar Ea 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 >>

Blurry Vision And Diabetes: What's The Connection?

Blurry Vision And Diabetes: What's The Connection?

Blurry vision is being unable to see the fine details. Another way of describing it is seeing a lack of sharpness. Blurred eyesight is similar to seeing things as if they are in the out-of-focus parts of a photograph. The blurriness can be subtle or obvious, can change through the day, and can come on slowly or quickly. It depends on the cause. Diabetes can cause blurry vision for a variety of reasons. Both short-term and long-term complications can affect the vision of someone with diabetes. Contents of this article: How does diabetes affect the eyes? Long-term uncontrolled diabetes can lead to high blood sugar levels that cause damage to small blood vessels over time. This damage can lead to problems with part of the eye called the retina which can create blurred vision. Short-term blurriness in people with diabetes is due to a different cause. Fluid shifts into and out of the eye due to high blood sugar levels, causing the lens of the eye to swell. This change in its shape causes blurriness as the lens is the part that focuses light onto the back of the eye. This short-term issue will resolve once blood sugar levels are lowered. Can diabetes treatment cause blurriness? Diabetes can also cause short-term blurriness if blood sugar levels fall too low (hypoglycemia). This can happen due to the timing of food or a change in activity levels in people who take medication that increases insulin in the body. Rather than being caused by changes in the eye, blurriness from low blood sugars is caused by the effects of hypoglycemia on the brain. Vision affected in this way will return to normal after glucose levels return to normal. Is blurry vision with diabetes temporary? As stated above, blurry vision can be caused by both short-term and long-term complications of diabetes. L Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Diabetic Retinopathy: Q&a

Diabetes And Diabetic Retinopathy: Q&a

Q&A Menu To find the Q&As most helpful to you, please click on one of these subjects: How Does Diabetes Affect 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 suc Continue reading >>

Diabetic Eye Screening

Diabetic Eye Screening

Diabetic eye screening is a key part of diabetes care. People with diabetes are at risk of damage from diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can lead to sight loss if it's not treated. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common causes of sight loss among people of working age. It occurs when diabetes affects small blood vessels, damaging the part of the eye called the retina. When the blood vessels in the central area of the retina (the macula) are affected, it's known as diabetic maculopathy. People with diabetes should also see their optician every two years for a regular eye test. Diabetic eye screening is specifically for diabetic retinopathy and can't be relied upon for other conditions. Why eye screening is needed Screening is a way of detecting the condition early before you notice any changes to your vision. Diabetic retinopathy doesn't usually cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages. If retinopathy is detected early enough, treatment can stop it getting worse. Otherwise, by the time symptoms become noticeable, it can be much more difficult to treat. This is why the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme was introduced. Everyone aged 12 and over with diabetes is offered screening once a year. Diabetic retinopathy is extremely unusual in children with diabetes who are under the age of 12. The check takes about half an hour and involves examining the back of the eyes and taking photographs of the retina. When diabetic eye screening is offered Everyone with diabetes who is 12 years of age or over should be invited to have their eyes screened once a year. You should receive a letter from your local Diabetic Eye Screening Service inviting you to attend a screening appointment. The letter will include a leaflet about diabetic eye screening. People with di 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 >>

How Often Should I Have An Eye Exam?

How Often Should I Have An Eye Exam?

Getting regular professional eye care is part of maintaining healthy vision as you age. 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. Be sure to ask your eye doctor for a dilated eye exam. Prevent Blindness recommends that everyone receive a comprehensive eye exam through dilated pupils regularly as recommended by your eye doctor. In general, the recommended frequency of comprehensive eye examinations for people without symptoms or special risk factors is: If you are 20-39 years of age and African-American, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years. If you are 20-39 years of age and Caucasion, you should get a complete eye exam every 3-5 years. If you are 40-64 years of age and African-American, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years. If you are 40-64 years of age and Caucasion, you should get a complete eye exam every 2-4 years. You should get a complete eye exam every 1-2 years. People with special risks, such as diabetes, a previous eye trauma, surgery or a family history of glaucoma, may need an eye exam more frequently. People with symptoms of eye trouble should see an eye doctor right away. Continue reading >>

How Often Is It Necessary To Have Eye Exams?

How Often Is It Necessary To Have Eye Exams?

How often is it necessary to have eye exams? How often should you have an eye exam? It depends on your age and your medical condition. (Gus Chan, Plain Dealer file) CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Common belief is that just about everyone needs an annual, or at least a biennial, eye exam. But some people find that a bit excessive, especially if they have no complaints and can see just fine through their glasses or contacts. If they want a new pair of glasses, why do they have to shell out more money for yet another exam? So we wondered -- how often is an eye exam necessary? The answer: It depends on your age and your medical condition. Dr. Thomas Steinemann , an ophthalmologist at Case Western Reserve University and MetroHealth Medical Center, said comprehensive eye exams are more than a vision check for corrective lenses. During an exam, doctors conduct a complicated series of tests that check eyesight, neurological function, eye pressure, eye muscle coordination, health of the external and internal eye structures and more. Early detection of conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye) in children and diabetic retinopathy in adults, could have a major influence on an individual's quality of vision in the long run, he said. There are two types of practitioners who can deliver eye care. Ophthalmologists are allopathic or osteopathic medical doctors who generally conduct exams, diagnose and treat diseases and perform surgery. Optometrists are trained to diagnose and treat health issues and perform vision testing for glasses and contact lenses. State and federal laws -- resulting from trade laws and consumer protection issues -- dictate the life of a prescription. Optical stores in Ohio won't consider a sale if the prescription is more than two years old for spectacles or more than one ye Continue reading >>

Diabetes Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Testing

Diabetes Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Testing

Thanks to the way diabetes is dramatized on television and in movies, many associate it with its more dramatic symptoms. Many think of the weakness and confusion that comes with a hypoglycemic episode, or the disabilities, like vision and circulation problems, associated with uncontrolled blood sugar. Some may even associate obesity with Type II diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes knows they have it, however. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than a quarter of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. If you suspect you have diabetes, or are worried that someone in your life may have the illness, you should certainly watch out for symptoms, and if you see persistent signs of diabetes, you should seek a definitive diagnosis. The greatest threat diabetes poses is the damage that high blood sugar does to a person’s health over time, and the best treatment seeks to keep blood sugar at a healthy level. Left undiagnosed, high blood sugar will gradually degrade a person’s health. But once it’s diagnosed, a diabetic can begin to safeguard their lives against the disease. Symptoms of Diabetes How do people know if they have diabetes? Many of them don’t know, and they’re walking around with an undetected and untreated health problem. Even if you don’t have any diabetes symptoms, it’s important for you to have your blood sugar tested with your yearly checkup, just to be sure your blood sugar numbers are still in a good range. If you do see the following symptoms—in yourself, or in one of your loved ones—you should see a doctor as soon as possible. All of these symptoms can have causes besides diabetes, but no matter what, it’s important to find out what the cause is so it can be treated appropriately. Because everyone is different, Continue reading >>

How Often Can I Have A Free Nhs Eye Test?

How Often Can I Have A Free Nhs Eye Test?

It's recommended that most people should get their eyes tested every two years. If you're eligible for a free NHS sight or eye test, the NHS pays for it and you won't be charged. See Am I entitled to a free NHS eye test? for more information. Your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist may recommend you have an NHS sight test more often than every two years if you: are a child wearing glasses are aged 70 or over Can I ask for an eye test more frequently? If you're concerned about your sight before your next NHS eye or sight test is due, you should visit your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist. They'll be able to carry out an NHS eye test earlier than planned if it's considered clinically necessary. If you want an eye test more often than your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist considers clinically necessary, you'll have to pay for a private eye test. Private eye tests If you're not eligible for a free NHS sight or eye test, you'll have to pay for a private eye test. Charges for private eye tests vary, so it's advisable to shop around. What if I pay for a private eye test? If you pay for a private eye test, you won't be eligible for a free NHS sight test until your next sight test is due. This will usually be two years later, but could be sooner in some cases. The person testing your eyes can advise you. Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments. Further information: 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 >>

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 >>

Eye Health

Eye Health

If you have diabetes, it is likely that you will develop some changes to your eyes. Diabetes sometimes causes the focusing ability of the eye to weaken or to vary from day-to-day however; this problem eases when blood glucose levels are stable. Diabetes can also cause vision loss from Diabetes Retinopathy (damage to the very small blood vessels on the back of the eye). Diabetic Retinopathy The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time you have had diabetes. The risk is also increased when blood glucose levels are not well controlled over time. Good blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and regular comprehensive eye examinations can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy but it does not eliminate it. Diabetic Retinopathy can occur regardless of the type of diabetes you have, your age, or even the control you have over your blood-glucose levels. It’s best to have regular eye examinations so that changes can be detected and treated early. People who have diabetes should have their eyes checked from when diabetes is first diagnosed, and then regularly checked every two years. Symptoms Diabetic Retinopathy If you notice any changes in your vision contact your doctor. Some examples of symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include: Blurred, distorted or patchy vision that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people Being overly sensitive to glare Difficulty seeing at night. In the early stages of Diabetic Retinopathy there may be no symptoms and the disease may not be diagnosed until it is advanced. Double vision This is a rare complication of diabetes. Double vision is usually temporary but it may last for a few months. An optometrist can help trea Continue reading >>

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