Importance of Eye Exams for Diabetic Patients

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Most people think nothing of scheduling regular visits with the medical doctor or their dentist in order to make sure that they are physically fit and healthy and their teeth stay white, bright and cavity free. But, when it comes to their eye care they tend to only seek the services of an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist when they have specific concerns regarding their vision.

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Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in their levels of training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor who has completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery.

The truth is, you should have an eye exam at least once a year.A comprehensive eye exam is more than simply checking your vision to see if you need glasses or not. During a comprehensive eye exam your doctor of Optometry will check your eye pressure, your eye muscle co-ordination and both your internal as well as your external eye health. A comprehensive eye exam is especially important if there is a family history of eye problems or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other health issue that could affect your vision. Yearly exams are especially important for those suffering from diabetes as catching diabetes related eye problems in their earliest stages may help to save your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most serious complications of diabetes which usually occurs in people with chronic diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes are usually affected. Research has shown that retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.

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According to diabetes research, the symptoms of diabetes that are associated with diabetic retinopathy are floaters or floating spots, dark streaks or a red film that blocks the vision, loss of vision, poor vision at night, shadows, or missing sight areas(aka blind spots).

When you notice warning signs and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, a dilated eye exam for the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy is necessary. This test is performed by examining the retina and dilating the pupils using eye drops. The doctor performs an exam to detect abnormal blood vessels, swelling, damage to the nerve tissues, growth of new blood vessels, scar tissue, bleeding in the retina, and retinal detachment. For a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, a retinal photography test is also necessary.

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Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is based upon the type and severity of the condition. An already damaged retina can’t be reversed. The treatment is aimed at preventing the disease from getting worse and stopping further damage. A prompt surgical treatment may be required. Surgical treatments help to stop the progression of the disease. Regular eyes check-ups after the treatment are necessary because there is a possibility of further retinal damage and vision loss in diabetic patients after a procedure like this.

The only way to prevent diabetic retinopathy is to know the right steps to take to keep your blood glucose under control. First, recognizing the early signs of diabetes and its symptoms. The early signs of diabetes are often confused with symptoms of other health problems. A good number of people who have diabetes are not aware that they suffer from the disease. Watch out for frequent urination, increased thirst and appetite, weight loss, skin infections, etc. Keep an eye on this blog as next week we will explore the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

Maintain an appropriate diabetic diet and exercise routine to control diabetes. A well-planned diet helps maintain blood sugar levels and reduces spikes. Be sure to monitor and maintain your blood sugar levels by testing regularly. A nutritious diet and regular exercise will help in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol as well. Cutting out“junk food” is a good start.

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