Diabetic Eye Exam Frequency

Diabetes is a leading cause of preventable, new onset blindness in working-age adults. Diabetes can harm your eyes by causing damage to the small blood vessels in your retina, located at the back of your eye. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes also increases your risk of glaucoma and other eye problems.

Many times, patients do not know that their eyes are harmed until the condition has caused significant damage. The early stages of diabetic retinopathy don’t cause changes in vision and don’t produce any symptoms. Regular eye exams can catch diabetic eye problems early. Only an eye exam can detect the problem so that steps can be taken to prevent the retinopathy from getting worse.

In Phoenix, the doctors at Associated Retina Consultants recommend yearly retinal exams to all diabetic patients. If you have eye problems because of diabetes, you may need more frequent visits to prevent your eye problems from getting worse.

One of the first steps of the eye exam is for your doctor to 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 dilate the pupils of your eyes so that the doctor can better see the back of the eye. To view the back of your eye, your doctor looks through a special magnifying glass using a bright light, allowing the doctor to see areas that may be damaged by diabetes. Another device called a slit lamp is used to see the clear surface of the eye (cornea). Your doctor may take photos of the back of your eye to get a more detailed exam using a special camera.

Although diabetes is the leading cause of adult-onset blindness, the good news is that vision loss due to diabetes can be prevented! Take charge of your eye health and make sure that an annual dilated eye exam is part of your comprehensive treatment plan. Contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or associatedretinaconsultants.com to schedule your exam today.