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Why Do Diabetics Need Regular Eye Tests?

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 Retinopathy - Exams And Tests

Diabetic Retinopathy - Exams And Tests

Diabetic retinopathy can be detected during a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. An exam by your primary doctor, during which your eyes are not dilated, is not an adequate substitute for a full exam done by an ophthalmologist. Eye exams for people with diabetes can include: Visual acuity testing. Visual acuity testing measures the eye's ability to focus and to see details at near and far distances. It can help detect vision loss and other problems. Ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp exam. These tests allow your doctor to see the back of the eye and other structures within the eye. They may be used to detect clouding of the lens (cataract), changes in the retina, and other problems. Gonioscopy. Gonioscopy is used to find out whether the area where fluid drains out of your eye (called the drainage angle) is open or closed. This test is done if your doctor thinks you may have glaucoma, a group of eye diseases that can cause blindness by damaging the optic nerve. Tonometry. This test measures the pressure inside the eye, which is called intraocular pressure (IOP). It is used to help detect glaucoma. Diabetes can increase your risk of glaucoma. Your doctor may also do a test called an optical coherence tomography (OCT) to check for fluid in your retina. Sometimes a fluorescein angiogram is done to check for and locate leaking blood vessels in the retina, especially if you have symptoms, such as blurred or distorted vision, that suggest damage to or swelling of the retina. Fundus photography can track changes in the eye over time in people who have diabetic retinopathy and especially in those who have been treated for it. Fundus photography produces accurate pictures of the back of the eye (the fundus). An eye doctor can compare photographs taken at different ti Continue reading >>

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening And Tests

Diabetic Retinopathy Screening And Tests

Tweet A once yearly retinal screening appointment (eye check) is carried out to identify early signs of diabetic retinopathy. If allowed to develop, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. For this reason it is important to attend your retinal screening once a year. Do I qualify for diabetic retinopathy screening? Everyone with diabetes who is 12 years of age or over should receive a retinal examination once a year as part of the NHS’s retinal screening programme. If you are concerned that you may be developing retinopathy, check for retinopathy symptoms and see your GP. Ask your GP or healthy centre if you have not received an invitation to have a retinopathy screening appointment. Who carries out the retinal screening? You may have the screening either at a hospital or you may be invited to book your appointment with an optician in your area. The screening is free regardless of where it takes place. What happens at the retinopathy screening? The optician will take a photo of your retina. To do this they will need to clearly see into as much of the back of your eye as possible. To enable them, to do this they will give you eye drops which will expand your pupils. It may take up to 20 minutes for the pupils to get large enough. The eye drops can sting a bit so just be ready. Try to keep your eyes open as best you can to avoid having to having to have additional attempts. The fluid needs to cover the centre of your eye to make your pupils larger. When your pupils are sufficiently expanded the optician will sit you down in front of a machine which will take the photograph of the retina in each of your eyes. Your eyes must be fully open for a good photograph to be achieved. Be aware that it may take a few attempts to get the photograph just right. As well as taking a 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 >>

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 >>

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

Print Diabetic retinopathy is best diagnosed with a dilated eye exam. For this exam, drops placed in your eyes widen (dilate) your pupils to allow your doctor to better view inside your eyes. The drops may cause your close vision to blur until they wear off, several hours later. During the exam, your eye doctor will look for: Abnormal blood vessels Swelling, blood or fatty deposits in the retina Growth of new blood vessels and scar tissue Bleeding in the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye (vitreous) Retinal detachment Abnormalities in your optic nerve In addition, your eye doctor may: Test your vision Measure your eye pressure to test for glaucoma Look for evidence of cataracts Fluorescein angiography With your eyes dilated, your doctor takes pictures of the inside of your eyes. Then your doctor will inject a special dye into your arm and take more pictures as the dye circulates through your eyes. Your doctor can use the images to pinpoint blood vessels that are closed, broken down or leaking fluid. Optical coherence tomography Your eye doctor may request an optical coherence tomography (OCT) exam. This imaging test provides cross-sectional images of the retina that show the thickness of the retina, which will help determine whether fluid has leaked into retinal tissue. Later, OCT exams can be used to monitor how treatment is working. Treatment Treatment, which depends largely on the type of diabetic retinopathy you have and how severe it is, is geared to slowing or stopping progression of the condition. Early diabetic retinopathy If you have mild or moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, you may not need treatment right away. However, your eye doctor will closely monitor your eyes to determine when you might need treatment. Work with 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 >>

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