Are Annual Eye Exams Important if I Have Diabetes?

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We know how much more enjoyable life is with clear vision, and that’s why we’re devoted to your ocular health. Our experienced team at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa realizes that you have unique needs, and we take the greatest care to create a personalized treatment plan just for you.

It all starts with a comprehensive eye exam, which can detect developing problems long before they cause significant damage. To ensure your optimal ocular outcome, visit our practice in Tuscaloosa, AL, or contact us to schedule an appointment!

How diabetes and elevated blood sugar can damage your eyes

A chronically elevated level of sugar (glucose) in the blood causes numerous ocular issues. The blood sugars damage or block blood vessels at the back of the eye, causing them to leak into different interior compartments and create swelling. New blood vessels form to pick up the slack, and their weak walls allow even more leaking and swelling. These new growths also stimulate scar tissue formation and raise the pressure in the eye to dangerous levels. As diabetic eye disease develops, some of the following symptoms may manifest:

  • Blurred vision

  • Wavy vision

  • Inconsistent visual clarity, or vision that often changes, possibly from day to day

  • Vision loss

  • Dark areas or spots forming in your vision

  • “Floaters” such as dark strings or other shapes that float throughout the visual field

  • Things taking on a faded or washed-out appearance

For those with diabetes, it’s imperative to schedule an annual eye exam. Diabetic eye diseases may not cause any symptoms or side effects until they reach a severe stage. So, get in touch with us today at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa for your peace of mind and future visual health.

The diabetic eye diseases that an eye exam can prevent

Cataracts are cloudy spots in the eye’s lens caused by the accumulation of old, damaged proteins. This generally occurs after the age of 40, but those with diabetes are susceptible at younger ages. It’s believed that high blood sugar causes deposits to form on the lens, accelerating the progression of cataracts.

Glaucoma refers to a number of conditions that attack the optic nerve, which connects the eye and brain. Most glaucoma-related complications cause damaging pressure to build up in the eye, shutting off the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the light-sensing retina and the optic nerve, gradually causing vision loss. And diabetes doubles the risk of developing glaucoma.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most prevalent diabetic eye disease. According to the NIH and CDC, it is also the most common cause of blindness for American adults ages 20 – 74. Early detection and treatment significantly reduce this risk, but it’s estimated that as many as 50% of sufferers are too late in seeking a diagnosis.

If retinopathy is left untreated in Tuscaloosa, AL, it develops into a more severe condition, proliferative retinopathy. At this stage, the damaged blood vessels close off, and new ones grow (or proliferate) in the retina. But they may cause scar tissue formation, damaging the tiny structures in the retina. And, as scar tissue shrinks, it could even change the shape of the retina or pull it out of place, causing retinal detachment.

The newly formed blood vessels are structurally unsound and leaky, allowing blood and other fluid to seep into the spaces around the retina. Altogether, these nasty consequences cause vision loss and eventually blindness.

Thwart diabetic vision loss

There are multiple effective treatment options for diabetic eye disease. However, your overall outcome depends on timely detection. And the thorough eye exams proudly offered by our professionals at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa are designed with your best results in mind. Our experts are dedicated to helping preserve or restore your vision to help you live a long, happy, healthy life! So contact us today, or pay us a visit at our offices in Tuscaloosa, AL to explore your options!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.