Diabetes touches over 100 million Americans every year. With diabetes, your chances of developing severe ocular conditions increase significantly. At Beggs Family Vision in Wichita, Kansas, Phil Beggs, OD, offers comprehensive diabetic eye exams to make sure that you can live a long, healthy life with diabetes without endangering your eyes. Learn more by scheduling an appointment with the office by phone or online.
Diabetic eye disease refers to conditions that develop in people with diabetes. The four leading types of diabetic eye disease include:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when your diabetes causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina, in the back of your eye. Diabetic retinopathy can develop in people affected by both types of diabetes. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to severe complications, such as blindness.
Diabetic macular edema develops following untreated diabetic retinopathy. With diabetic retinopathy, your retina endures a significant amount of pressure, and your macula swells up.
A cataract refers to the clouding of the lens of your eye, which is typically clear. If you have a cataract, you'll notice a cloudy or frosty change in your vision. This might make it difficult to drive, read, or see close distances.
Glaucoma occurs when there is damage to the optic nerve. The more the nerve is damaged, the more blind spots will develop in your visual field.
If you have diabetes, you’ll know that your pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t produce any at all. Your body needs insulin to break down sugars and convert them into energy. As a result, your blood sugar levels are too high.
If your blood sugar levels are too high, your blood vessels might become obstructed. The blood vessels in your eye are essential to nourishing the retina. If there's a blockage in these blood vessels, it might cut off the retina’s blood supply.
When the blood supply to your retina is cut off, your body starts to generate new blood vessels. If your blood flow isn’t healthy, the new blood vessels won’t be able to grow properly and might leak.
The primary test that Dr. Beggs uses during a diabetic eye exam is a dilated retinal test.
After the standard Snellen chart test, which checks your visual acuity by making read letters from large to small, Dr. Beggs gives you eye drops that dilate your pupils.
Dilated pupils allow your doctor to see the back of your eye. Using a magnifying glass and a bright light, Dr. Begg then inspects your eye in detail, including:
Dr. Begg might also opt for a digital retinal scan, which achieves the same results as the dilated retinal exam, but doesn’t use drops to dilate your pupils, only an imaging tool.
If you have diabetes, get in touch with Dr. Beggs today by phone or online to learn more about what you can do to avoid diabetic eye disease.