Did you know that diabetes can be detected by your optometrist during a routine eye exam? Having annual, comprehensive eye examinations can help diagnose diabetes early on, sometimes even before symptoms start. Uncontrolled blood sugar can result in blurry vision, and an eye disease known as diabetic retinopathy.
During a routine eye exam, your optometrist will put drops in your eyes to dilate (open up) your pupils so they can get a better look at the retina (the back of the eye). This is where there may be evidence of diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugars can show up as blood vessels in the retina that bleed and leak fluid, known as diabetic retinopathy. A complication of diabetic retinopathy is diabetic macular edema. This occurs when the macula swells, causing damage to the retina and vision loss. Early detection is important to manage the condition.
During your exam, your optometrist may recommend taking retinal photographs and/or performing a scan called Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT). These imaging tests will provide a more detailed look into the back of the eye, and can help monitor for changes over time.
Treatment and management of diabetic retinopathy includes managing your blood sugar levels with your family doctor or endocrinologist, through medication and lifestyle changes. If vision loss is detected, you may need to be referred to an ophthalmologist for further treatment.
If you are diabetic or at risk of diabetes, ensure that you book an annual, comprehensive eye examination with your optometrist, in addition to your regular health checkup with your doctor.
If you notice sudden blurred or distorted vision, fluctuating vision or loss of vision, please do not hesitate to book your eye examination.