Helping you to be a WellOne.


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Diabetes eye exams

Diabetic retinopathy - eye exams; Diabetes - eye exams; Glaucoma - diabetic eye exam; Macular edema - diabetic eye exam

Diabetes can harm your eyes. It can damage the small blood vessels in your retina, the back wall of your eyeball. 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.

You Need Regular eye Exams

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.
  • An optometrist is a doctor of optometry. Once you have eye disease caused by diabetes, you will likely also see an ophthalmologist.

What is a Dilated Retinal Exam?

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 back of your eye, the doctor looks through a special magnifying glass using a bright light. The doctor can then see areas that may be damaged by diabetes:

  • Blood vessels in the front or middle parts of the eye
  • The back of the eye
  • The optic nerve area

Another device called a slit lamp is used to see the clear surface of the eye (cornea).

The doctor may take photos of the back of your eye to get a more detailed exam. This exam is called a digital retinal scan (or imaging). A special camera is used to take photos of your retina without dilating your eyes. The doctor then views the photos and lets you know if you need more tests or treatment.

After Your eye Exam

If you had drops to dilate your eyes, your vision will be blurred for about 6 hours. It will be harder to focus on things that are near. You should have someone drive you home.

Also, sunlight can damage your eye more easily when your pupils are dilated. Wear dark glasses or shade your eyes until the effects of the drops wear off.

References

American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Diabetic retinopathy PPP - updated 2017. www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/diabetic-retinopathy-ppp-updated-2017. Updated December 2017. Accessed September 26, 2018.

American Diabetes Association. 10. Microvascular complications and foot care: standards of medical care in diabetes-2018. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(Suppl 1):S105-S118. PMID: 29222381 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29222381.

Brownlee M, Aiello LP, Cooper ME, Vinik AI, Plutzky J, Boulton AJM. Complications of diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 33.

Skugor M. Diabetes mellitus. In: Schachat AP, Sadda SVR, Hinton DR, Wilkinson CP, Wiedemann P, eds. Ryan's Retina. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 49.

  • Eye

    Eye - illustration

    The eye is the organ of sight, a nearly spherical hollow globe filled with fluids (humors). The outer layer or tunic (sclera, or white, and cornea) is fibrous and protective. The middle layer (choroid, ciliary body and the iris) is vascular. The innermost layer (the retina) is nervous or sensory. The fluids in the eye are divided by the lens into the vitreous humor (behind the lens) and the aqueous humor (in front of the lens). The lens itself is flexible and suspended by ligaments which allow it to change shape to focus light on the retina, which is composed of sensory neurons.

    Eye

    illustration

  • Diabetic retinopathy

    Diabetic retinopathy - illustration

    Diabetes causes an excessive amount of glucose to remain in the blood stream which may cause damage to the blood vessels. Within the eye the damaged vessels may leak blood and fluid into the surrounding tissues and cause vision problems.

    Diabetic retinopathy

    illustration

    • Eye

      Eye - illustration

      The eye is the organ of sight, a nearly spherical hollow globe filled with fluids (humors). The outer layer or tunic (sclera, or white, and cornea) is fibrous and protective. The middle layer (choroid, ciliary body and the iris) is vascular. The innermost layer (the retina) is nervous or sensory. The fluids in the eye are divided by the lens into the vitreous humor (behind the lens) and the aqueous humor (in front of the lens). The lens itself is flexible and suspended by ligaments which allow it to change shape to focus light on the retina, which is composed of sensory neurons.

      Eye

      illustration

    • Diabetic retinopathy

      Diabetic retinopathy - illustration

      Diabetes causes an excessive amount of glucose to remain in the blood stream which may cause damage to the blood vessels. Within the eye the damaged vessels may leak blood and fluid into the surrounding tissues and cause vision problems.

      Diabetic retinopathy

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Self Care

     

    Tests for Diabetes eye exams

     

     

    Review Date: 8/19/2018

    Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
    adam.com

     
     
     

     

     

    A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.
    Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.