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Diabetic Eye Exam


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Dark, blank areas in your vision | Floaters, dark strings or dots | Blurred vision | Fluctuations in your eyesight | Trouble focusing | Changes in your color vision | Partial or total vision loss


Diabetes and the Eye

Diabetes refers to a medical condition in which the body cannot use and store glucose properly. Without the ability to convert sugar into energy, the level of glucose in the bloodstream rises to higher-than-normal levels. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can lead to many health complications, particularly in the eyes. If you have diabetes, it is essential to book a regular diabetic eye exam in Brenham, Texas . Our specialized examination of your eyes will detect any diabetes related problems as soon as possible, thereby minimizing the risks to your vision.

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I went in for a diabetic eye exam and found the Doctor and staff to be professional and friendly!
– Joyce R.
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The Importance of a Diabetic Eye Exam.

How Often Should You Schedule a Diabetic Eye Exam?


Who Needs a Diabetic Eye Exam?

Why Schedule a Diabetic Eye Exam With Us?

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Many people with diabetes assume that there is no need for a diabetic eye exam as long as they are seeing clearly and have no complaints with their eyes. However, this isn’t true! A diabetic eye exam is necessary for detecting several eye conditions, such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts, which can develop without causing vision problems or discomfort.

Early detection of these eye conditions – before you notice symptoms – can be the difference between effective treatment and severe vision loss.

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According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA):

  • People with type 1 diabetes should schedule their first diabetic eye exam within the first five years
  • People with type 2 diabetes should schedule their first diabetic eye exam immediately after diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes can remain undiagnosed for years, and damage to the eyes may occur during this time.
  • After the first diabetic eye exam, all adults with diabetes should visit their eye doctor for a dilated eye exam annually.
  • If you have eye problems from diabetes, your eye doctor may instruct you to visit more frequently than once a year
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People with diabetes of any type need to visit their eye doctor for a diabetic eye exam. This includes:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Pregnant women with diabetes need an eye exam in the first trimester, even if it is not yet time for their yearly exam
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At (Practice name in City 1), our eye doctors are trained and experienced in performing diabetic eye exams. In addition, we stay current with the latest medical research and technologies, so you will receive precise diagnoses and cutting-edge treatments. Our office features a variety of advanced digital imaging devices to inspect and record your eye condition. This is the most dependable way to watch for any changes that indicate a need for treatment. Also, our team will collaborate with your primary physician to help design the most effective plan to control your diabetes. A diabetic eye exam at (practice name in city 1) goes far towards protecting your sharp vision and healthy eyes.

The importance of technology for diabetic eye exams

To provide you with the most accurate, detailed results, your diabetic eye exam will make use of various advanced technologies and digital imaging equipment. These tools enable your eye doctor to see the back of your eye with greater precision and clarity. In addition, modern technology has made it possible to record images of your inner eye tissues so they can be compared and analyzed from year to year. This high-tech method of monitoring your condition enables early detection of even the slightest changes.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) uses light waves to capture cross-section images of your retina. Using this technology, your eye doctor can view all the layers of your retina and measure their thickness. These images will reveal any vulnerable areas where damaged blood vessels may leak. OCTs are extremely helpful for designing treatment for many diabetic eye diseases, such as retinopathy and glaucoma.

This specialized eye exam consists of dilating your eyes with drops that enlarge your pupils, which provides your eye doctor with a wider view of the retina. This makes it easier to see any signs of abnormalities, such as retinopathy, when they are at a very early stage. A dilated eye exam also includes tonometry to measure the fluid pressure of your inner eye. If the pressure levels are higher than normal, it may indicate that you have glaucoma.

Diopsys electroretinography testing provides your primary care physician with information about your brain cell activity. The results can indicate if any cell damage has occurred in your eye, way before you experience any disturbing symptoms. What is unique and new about the diopsys is that it shows unhealthy retinal cells, and not only the cells that have died. Your doctor can use this information to design a more aggressive diabetes treatment to prevent vision loss. The test is non-invasive, objective, and highly detailed.

A baseline of cell health is the only way to precisely detect changes in your eyes over time. At each yearly diabetic eye exam, your eye doctor can compare the new results with your previous baseline testing. If a higher number of unhealthy or damaged retinal cells are detected, it may indicate that your diabetes treatment needs modification for tighter blood sugar control. This is the most reliable, effective way to prevent vision complications and loss.

With early detection and a change in diabetes management, many eye complications caused by diabetes can be stopped, slowed down, and even reversed. The use of advanced technology to evaluate the health of your retina and optic nerve is the most precise way to monitor for changes. These changes in your ocular health provide essential information about the efficacy of your diabetes management plan, which your physician can use to alter your diet or medication.

Are Diabetic Eye Exams Covered by Insurance?

There are two types of insurance for your ocular needs: vision insurance and medical insurance. Diabetic eye exams are medically necessary for the diagnosis of any eye diseases. Therefore, they are usually covered by your medical insurance.

Medicaid/medicare and diabetic eye exams

Medicare LogoMedicare Part B and Medicare Advantage provide coverage for a yearly diabetic eye exam, if you have diabetes or are at an increased risk for glaucoma.

Medicaid LogoThe vision benefits provided by Medicaid vary from state to state. In many states, coverage is given for diabetic eye exams for children and adults, including glaucoma screening.


Identifying Symptoms of Vision Issues from your Diabetes.


Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes.

Do Kids Need Diabetic Eye Exams?

Diabetic Eye Exams for Prediabetes.

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Some symptoms indicate that you should book a diabetic eye exam immediately – and not wait for your annual appointment. For example, if you experience blurry vision, see double, or have pain in your eyes, it is recommended to contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. The sudden appearance of new floaters or spots, red eyes, and/or a sensation of pressure could also be caused by an underlying eye problem associated with diabetes.

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Eye complications that can be caused by diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, and macular edema, can similarly affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In general, the length of time that you have been living with diabetes and your level of blood glucose control are the strongest links to developing vision problems, no matter which type of diabetes you have.

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At present, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises that children over the age of 10 with Type 1 diabetes should have a diabetic eye exam within five years after diagnosis. If the child has Type 2 diabetes, a diabetic eye exam should be scheduled shortly after the condition was diagnosed. Following the initial examination, all children with diabetes should have an eye exam every year.

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Prediabetes can increase your risk of vision complications and loss – just like diabetes. Generally, prediabetes means that you have elevated blood sugar levels, but they are not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. However, these higher-than-normal levels can cause retinopathy, and the early signs of this sight-threatening disease can only be detected by an eye exam. Therefore, it is critical for people with prediabetes to book a yearly diabetic eye exam.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the main concern for eye health in people with diabetes. Prolonged exposure to high blood glucose can weaken the walls of your ocular blood vessels, leading to the leakage of blood and fluid in your eye. Eventually, new abnormal blood vessels begin to grow in the retina. These unhealthy blood vessels rupture easily, pouring blood into the retina and blocking vision. Over time, untreated retinopathy typically leads to blindness. The higher your blood sugar levels and the longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of retinopathy.

At the very beginning, diabetic retinopathy does not generally cause symptoms. However, as it worsens you may notice the following:

  • Dark, blank areas in your vision
  • Floaters, dark strings or dots
  • Blurred vision
  • Fluctuations in your eyesight
  • Trouble focusing
  • Changes in your color vision
  • Partial or total vision loss

Your eye doctor will insert dilating eye drops to see a wider, clearer view your retinal tissue. The first sign of diabetic retinopathy is the presence of microaneurysms, little red or white spots on the retina that only your eye doctor can see during a diabetic eye exam. These spots are tiny pockets of blood that pushed through the damaged blood vessels. Microaneurysms are a sign of nonproliferative retinopathy.

Your eye doctor may also perform fluorescein angiography as a diagnostic procedure. Fluorescein (yellow dye) is injected into a vein in your body, and it travels through your bloodstream. A specialized camera captures images of the retina as the dye flows through. This can show if any vessels are leaking fluid or are blocked.

Another method of inspecting the retina for diagnosing retinopathy is with an OCT scan. This technology provides your eye doctor with precise images of the thickness of your retina, which enables any swelling to be measured.

The goal of diabetic retinopathy treatment is to slow or halt the development of the disease. Treatment must be personalized to address the type of retinopathy you have, the severity of your condition, and how well-managed your diabetes is. Also, treatment does not generally restore lost vision, but it can prevent further deterioration.

Possible treatments include:

  • Monitoring – when retinopathy is mild and symptom-less. Yearly diabetic eye exams are critical and tighter blood sugar control is often recommended.
  • Focal laser treatment – called laser photocoagulation, this procedure creates small and painless retinal burns that close off any leaking vessels.
  • Scatter laser treatment – this therapy can shrink abnormal vessels and produce scar tissue to prevent them from growing in the future.
  • Vitrectomy – a minor surgery that eases the symptoms of retinopathy when other methods have failed. Your eye doctor cuts a small incision in your eye to release the blood that leaked in and to remove scar tissue that is pulling on your retina.  

What are the Risks of Diabetes to Your Eyes?

The primary condition that affects people with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetes can also raise your risk of developing other sight-threatening vision disorders.

This condition occurs when retinal blood vessels become damaged by elevated blood glucose levels. The retina is the part of your eye that is sensitive to light. As the damage to these cells becomes worse, you may suffer vision loss.  

Diabetic retinopathy can lead to damage near the macula. When this occurs, fluid can leak into the macula and cause it to swell. Macular edema is the most common reason for vision loss in diabetic retinopathy.

A cataract is an opaque or clouded lens of the eye. Most people develop a cataract as they age, and people with diabetes are at a higher risk for this condition. When cataracts interfere with vision significantly, the primary treatment is to remove them and replace the lens with an intraocular lens implant.

A number of vision changes are linked to diabetes, especially when blood sugars change rapidly. These fluctuations can alter the shape of your eye’s lens, which lead to temporary blurred vision. When blood sugars stabilize, the blurry vision generally disappears.

Your eye is filled with gelatinous and liquid substances that create intraocular pressure. This pressure maintains the smoothly rounded shape of your cornea so that you have a proper optical lens. When you have glaucoma, your intraocular fluid cannot drain normally. Subsequently, the pressure level rises too high and press upon the optic nerve. Over time, this inhibits blood supply to the nerve and kills the cells. As a result, blind spots appear in your peripheral vision. When untreated, glaucoma can progress into blindness. Frontline treatment is usually medicated eye drops or oral drugs. If these therapies do not work well enough, glaucoma can also be treated by surgery or laser.

High blood sugar levels can sometimes cause swelling in the tissues of your eyes that enable focusing. When this happens, you may experience blurry vision that will go away as soon as glucose levels return to normal.

Call Our Brenham, Texas Office Today


Texas State Optical

2654 Texas 36 S
Brenham, TX 77833

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